What is my job after I’ve planted the seeds? That question is at the core of the parable in today’s Gospel account. There is certainty of a harvest once the sower had done his or her job. It was meant to give encouragement to the early disciples who had become discouraged because little seemed to be happening. Jesus was telling them to be patient, to trust, and not to expect instant results.
We are like those early disciples as we want immediate results and we want them fast. We live in the “instant age!” Instant soup, instant potatoes, instant photos, pretty much instant everything. We know that as a result of this quality suffers, but we are willing to sacrifice quality for quick results and time and energy saved.
We tend to forget that some things cannot be rushed. To grow to maturity as a human being takes a lifetime. To build a healthy relationship takes time. To overcome one’s sins and weaknesses takes time.
In the parable the farmer did his part: he sowed the seed. Things were now beyond his control. He hoped that the seed would produce an abundant harvest but all he could do was wait in patience, humility, and trust. And these are not always easy virtues to cultivate in one’s life.
However, life calls us to develop those virtues. Some people think they must always be doing something with the belief that everything depended on them. They are unable to step back, to let things be, to trust, to be patient, to be humble, to wait.
There is something we can do, and which God will not do for us. But that being said, we have to acknowledge that we can’t do everything. Spiritual development and human development is a slow process. It will go on as long as we do not resist it. We can plant the seeds, but we cannot make them grow. God has to take over. It is always God who gives the increase.
Remember that nature is our teacher and from nature we can learn the virtue of patience. Things take time to grow and ripen. Nature does not take shortcuts. All the seasons participate in the growth nature brings forth.
The Parable of the Sower and the Seed is a reminder to us that God is in charge. God invites us to plant, and then step back and watch with great wonder and awe, what God can and will do!
— Fr. Dennis, June 17, 2018