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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 8, 4-15

With a large crowd gathering and people from every town finding their way to him, he told this parable:

'A sower went out to sow his seed. Now as he sowed, some fell on the edge of the path and was trampled on; and the birds of the air ate it up.

Some seed fell on rock, and when it came up it withered away, having no moisture.

Some seed fell in the middle of thorns and the thorns grew with it and choked it.

And some seed fell into good soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.' Saying this he cried, 'Anyone who has ears for listening should listen!'

His disciples asked him what this parable might mean,

and he said, 'To you is granted to understand the secrets of the kingdom of God; for the rest it remains in parables, so that they may look but not perceive, listen but not understand.

'This, then, is what the parable means: the seed is the word of God.

Those on the edge of the path are people who have heard it, and then the devil comes and carries away the word from their hearts in case they should believe and be saved.

Those on the rock are people who, when they first hear it, welcome the word with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of trial they give up.

As for the part that fell into thorns, this is people who have heard, but as they go on their way they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life and never produce any crops.

As for the part in the rich soil, this is people with a noble and generous heart who have heard the word and take it to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is one of Jesus’ most important parables, given that he himself explained it. That is to say: if one does not understand this one, one will not understand the others. As the Gospels show, Jesus had a very popular style of teaching via parables. A parable is a comparison that uses known and visible things from daily life to explain the invisible things of the Kingdom of God. Obviously this supposes that Jesus was truly among the people. With Pope Francis we could say that he was a pastor that smelled the odour, or rather felt the entire life, of his flock. But at the same time he knew how to go into depth and show that the Gospel is not outside of life, better still, that it is life’s true yeast, true salt, true light. Jesus gives particular value to this parable because in it he shows the attitude that the disciples must have in listening to the entire Gospel. We could say that the Gospel is not understood if there is not someone to explain it. The very parables need to be explained. Not because they are not understood but because we need the “spirit” of Jesus to go deeper and to bind those words to life. The first striking observation of this parable though, is not about the listener but about the sower. He appears extraordinarily generous in sowing seeds (which is the Word of God): the sower throws them everywhere, even on the street, between stones, hoping they can find some piece of earth to attach to and grow. For Jesus, the first sower, there is no soil that is not ideal to receive the Gospel. The soil is life, or better the heart of every man and every woman, whatever culture and ethnicity they belong to. Even if there are hearts as hard as stone, or terrains that are resistant to every attempt at sowing, Jesus continues to sow in the hope that sooner or later some crack welcomes that good seed and gives fruit. The parable does not intend to classify men and women in the various terrains in such a way as to call some of them good soil and others bad. This can certainly happen, but it depends on everyone’s choice. No one is bad or good by nature. It is the freedom that each man and woman has received as gift. It is up to each person to live it. That which appears most ordinary is exactly that choice which we often make of being the good terrain or less good and other times, resistant to listening. If we look at our lives we realize that at times our hearts are similar to a rocky soil, other times it is full of thorns, other times still we let ourselves be overcome by worries and other times we are good soil. With this parable, the Lord invites us to open our hearts to welcome the World of God and to take care of it with perseverance. In fact, he continues, every morning to sow the Gospel in our hearts, as it happens for example, to those who listen to the Scripture every day. But not only. He will also ask each of us to be sowers of the good of the Gospel with him everywhere, so that the Word is sown widely even to the extreme corners of the earth, bringing everywhere the fruits of peace and love.

Sunday Vigil