July 23, 2004

A New View

I'm always grateful when I hear a sermon that presents a very familiar gospel passage in a new way. That happened with this parable:

Jesus said, “Hear then the parable of the sower. When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

Now what the priest started to say was something about how fruitfulness is a cooperation (..."between God and man" I finished his thought -- but no!) between the Word and the Holy Spirit, as would be happening at the altar. The Holy Spirit works through the priest as He did with Mary, the Mother of God, and in both cases the fruit is Jesus.

So where is the work of the Spirit in this parable? It is implied by the fact that the Spirit's seven gifts are the antidotes to infertile ground. Thus:

-"When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it..."
...is prevented by the gift of Understanding

-"As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away."
...is prevented by the gift of Fortitude

- "As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word."
...is remedied by the gift of knowledge, which enables those who have it to "judge the whole spectrum of creatures and objects from a supernatural viewpoint" which is to say a rightly ordered view of created things and money.

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