We all know a good story when we hear it. The story line connects to a part of life that we can identity with in our own lives. A good story teller knows how to use humour, elicit emotions, draw on our fears or lift up our hopes. A story that connects with our lives is one that will, most likely, stay with us for a while. So in the reading, Jesus is telling about his use of parables. A parable means to bring along side for the use of comparison. A parable can serve to be a good story since it comes along side and connects with life. However a story that compares well to life can just as easily draw us in or if it gets a little too close, may repel instead. The parables Jesus told did both.
The parable of the sower is well known. A sower spreads seed on a variety of soils with mixed results. The seed that fell on poor, rocky soil produced nothing but the seed that fell on good soil produced a tremendous crop. Any gardener or farmer knows that good soil has a much better chance of producing a great harvest. There is nothing surprising here, except for what the parable does as it comes along side our lives, it exposes us. This is precisely why Jesus used parables in response to the disciples’ question.
The grace of God is everywhere. It fills all of creation with life. Jesus showed how that grace enhances life in his compassion, empathy, care for the sick, invitation to the outcast, concern for those walked on by others. His resurrection shows God is a God of life and not death. The love of God is like seed ready to bring life to its fullest. Yet the seed is not always received that way. The question is “Why?”
Some people are simply hard as a rock and the concept of grace just won’t easily take root. Some people have been so beat down that like a well worn path, a seed will have a hard time finding a crack in the hard crust for life to put down roots. Some people like the idea of grace and want more of it but they get absorbed into the life offered by the world. Some people are where life in the kingdom of heaven flourishes.
We all know what a good story is when we hear it by how it compares to life. Parables are like a good story in that they come along side and connect our lives with life in the kingdom of heaven. The parables of Jesus expose our hardness. They can also plant a seed which will bring astounding results produced by the grace of God. As Jesus told the disciples, “He who has ears, let him hear.”