The Sower,
Painted by Liz Lemon Swindle (American),
Painted in 2013,
Oil on Canvas,
© Liz Lemon, Havenlight Publishing

The Sower,
Painted by Liz Lemon Swindle (American),
Painted in 2013,
Oil on Canvas,
© Liz Lemon, Havenlight Publishing

Gospel of 16 July 2023

Imagine a sower going out to sow

Matthew 13:1-9

Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.

He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’

Reflection on the painting

What I like about today’s painting is that the main focus of the artist is on the actual seeds… not on the fields, not on the sower. We just see the seeds being sown out of the hand, Christ’s hand.

Christ teaches us in this parable, that the seeds represent the Word of God and the ground represents the hearts of all of us who want to hear the Word. If we want to be that fertile soil, we have to make room for the Word of God; if we don’t want to be that fertile soil and have hearts of stone, the seeds will not take root and simply be eaten by the birds, not producing any fruits. The artist painted some more subtle touches onto the canvas and explains: ‘We can be like fertile ground and prepare a place for the word of God to grow within us. I put the symbol of the fish in the sown seeds to remind us that once we find the word, we too must go forth as sowers and spread the good news of Christ.’

Like any seed that gets planted, it needs to germinate, needs to be nurtured in order for it to produce fruit. But in order for the seed to take root, it must shed its shell. It must expose itself to the richness of the soils in order to grow, to the richness of the Word. However, seeds need time to grow… the time between sowing and harvesting can be long, and we have to be patient.

The ‘seed’ is also something pure; the seed is good. There is never an issue with the seed itself. The problem comes when it falls onto the soil, and depending on what soil it finds, it will grow or not grow, or only half grow. If the seed is not producing what it's supposed to produce , it means that the soil/our heart is the issue.

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Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens(@jeanne)
7 months ago

So we are the soil, warm and receptive to the seed if properly prepared, and the seed, ready to have our hard carapace broken down? Prefer van Gogh’s peerless The Sower, 1889, the one with the diagonal tree. There we see the scale of the sower’s task, the huge field, the long hours he/we have to put in, till darkness……

Christine Vanaken
Member
Christine Vanaken(@christine-uit-belgisch-limburg)
7 months ago

“Als het zaad niet produceert wat het zou moeten produceren, betekent dit dat de grond / ons hart het probleem is.” Oei Priester Patrick, hier schrik ik een beetje van. Ik dacht dat ik goed bezig was om over het Woord van God te durven spreken. Misschien moet ik beginnen met het onkruid te wieden dat op mijn zielsakker staat. Het is echt niet gemakkelijk. Help mij mijn God want ik wil toch dat ik bij het goede zaad zou behoren.

Polly French
Member
Polly French(@pauline)
7 months ago

We don’t have to be perfect Christine, (thank God) – our best will do!

Silvia Moiron
Member
Silvia Moiron(@silvya)
7 months ago

Cristina, buen domingo en el Señor.
Utilicé un traductor, pero no es muy bueno.
Ojalá tenga la traducción de Cristian Art.

Last edited 7 months ago by Silvia Moiron
Anna Crook
Member
Anna Crook(@anna)
7 months ago

I love how lavish the Sower is, how He throws the seed so abundantly and generously so all can hear… even for a moment. Even seeds found in the rocks or scorched land may root and grow over time when the ground is disturbed

Andy Bocanegra
Member
Andy Bocanegra(@bogie29)
7 months ago

What hits me this morning is that the Gospel message is pure and perfect but I as the messenger need to be close the Christ in order to spread that message effectively.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
7 months ago

Nice points today Patrick – the seed itself is fine, it ‘s the soil that poses a problem… and the crop in good soil – some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty…some maybe less :-/

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain(@mark_crain)
7 months ago

The artist explains: “I put the symbol of the fish in the sown seeds…” Thank you Fr. Patrick for including this in your reflection. I would not have seen, which worries me (“…they look but do not see…”).

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
7 months ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

Your vision is just fine Mark.

Polly French
Member
Polly French(@pauline)
7 months ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

Very good point Mark. I have looked hard for the fish and I think I see it now? Makes me think about how hard I persevere to when it comes to matters of faith?

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace(@spaceforgrace)
7 months ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

Sometimes we need others to point these things out to us, but as long as we pass it on it’s all good!

Graham B.
Member
Graham B.(@barsbee)
7 months ago

I notice in the painting that the sower has a bag of more seed, so if the first seeds do not quite work, there are fresh seeds (opportunities) to be cast. Thank goodness the Lord gives us new opportunities to be fruitful each day. Speaking of which I must be up and about . . .

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace(@spaceforgrace)
7 months ago

There is such abundance in nature. How does something so small become something so much bigger? It is an interaction between the potential in the seed, the nutrients in the soil, the air, the sun and the water. My dad was a keen gardener and gave me that love of the soil, and my children have it likewise.
This is a well loved parable. Do we also have ears to listen?
Lord help me spread some seeds today, even the tiniest ones, that even without my knowing there will be growth in others too.

Polly French
Member
Polly French(@pauline)
7 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Your comment SFG has given me much to think about. Our interactions are so important if the seed is to take root and grow.

I think we all have every type of soil in us, thorny, rocky, at times, rich!

It is our interactions that will yield the outcome, positive or negative!

May we all be the encourager for each other!

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace(@spaceforgrace)
7 months ago
Reply to  Polly French

Amen!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M(@chazbo)
7 months ago

Interesting that the seed is maize, not corn (wheat). I remember a story about a North American missionary amongst indigenous Mexicans. In order to bring the Gospel alive he used to cut up tortillas for the Eucharist. His bishop heard about this and told him to sure to use soft white flour tortillas, not yellow corn ones! For verisimilitude!

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