In one of his poems, “Putting in the Seed,” Robert Frost describes a farmer’s love affair with the earth. It’s getting dark and someone from the house tries to fetch him from his work to come in. Supper’s ready on the table, yet he’s a
“ Slave to a springtime passion for the earth.
How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,
The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.”
Can’t you see that farmer in his fields zestfully casting seed on the waiting earth? Is he an image of God, the Sower, who casts saving grace onto the world in season and out, because he loves it so much?
Our readings for the 15th Sunday of the Year seem to suggest it. If you have ever been to Galilee and seen the lake where Jesus spoke this parable and the surrounding lands abundant with crops. you know this is a blessed place. It was in Jesus’ time too. In a place like this, the sower scatters his seed with abandon, hardly caring where it goes: on rocky ground, or amid thorns, or on the soil which gives a good return.
God the Sower sows blessed seed, no matter how badly our human world appears, or how badly it receives. The gospel passage from Matthew (Mt 13,1-9) is preceded by accounts of growing opposition to Jesus and his message. John the Baptist is arrested and killed (Mt 11,1-18), the cities where he preaches reject him (Mt 11, 22-24) the Pharisees say his miracles are done through the power of Satan (Mt 12, 22-38).
In the parable Jesus acknowledges that the seed is rejected and well as accepted. But the sower still sows. The seasons bring snow and rain; grace is never withheld. And that makes us hope.
And is it just the human world God loves? Does his love extend to all the earth God finds “good,” as the Book of Genesis says. We worry about our planet earth, and with reason. How fragile our environment has become, what damage we careless humans do! We are concerned rightly for its future.
These readings tell us to hope for our earth too. Though it is not immune from the threat of destruction and degradation, God loves it still. He’s a Sower at work, who deeply loves the world he has made. Blessed be the Lord God of all creation, may you sow your blessings on all.