According to its kind

As with all parables, there is so much to the parable of the sower that a lifetime will not yield all the fruit from it.

But it strikes me that most often the fruit is said to be faith. Interestingly our Lord tells us what the seed is – the word of God. He tells us what the path is – those who hear but do not receive. The rocks are those who hear and receive, but only when things are going well. And the thorns are those who also hear and receive, but quickly become choked out because of this world’s allurements and troubles. And finally, the good soil are those who hear and receive and hold it fast in an honest and good heart. They bear fruit with patience.

But what’s the fruit? The other soils are unable to produce fruit, as Matthew and Mark record the parable. But the good soil produces fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundred-fold. So what’s the fruit? Is it faith? Is it good works? Perhaps it is neither.

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind.” (Gen. 1:11). The seed bears fruit according to its kind. The seed that is sown is the word of God, the gospel. The fruit that it produces is the word of God, the gospel. The good soil has faith, and so clings to the gospel that is sown. And from it comes – to mix metaphors – streams of living waters. From it comes the gospel, the word of life.

But this is not an abstract word, or even a compilation of words to form a sentence. This word is the eternal word of the Father, come down from heaven to save sinners from sin and from death. This word is the word of God who came born of the Blessed Virgin, making His and His Father’s home with you. The word is Himself the sower and the seed. And He produces the fruit that leads to eternal life.

You are the ground. The Son of Man has sown His seed and planted it in your ear and in your heart. Sometimes you are the path and Satan and his demons snatch the word away so that you remain comfortless and barren. Sometimes you are the rocky soil and the word takes root, but only on the surface so that the hardships that come prevent you from hearing with ears to hear. Sometimes you are the thorny soil. You hear the word of God, the gospel of our Lord Jesus, but the temptations and allurements of this world and your own flesh prove too much, and you choke out the gospel in order to satisfy your flesh.

And sometimes you are the good soil, when you have been tilled by the Law and the once hard path has been made soft. and the once rocky heart has been cleared of stones, and the once weed-infested will has been tilled and churned. And the word of the Lord is planted in your ear and in your heart and you receive Him with great joy, holding fast to Him because He is the word of promise; He is the word of life and salvation.

The seed that was sown becomes a mighty tree whose branches provide safety and whose shade provides comfort and rest. And according to its kind the fruit of the tree is the word of the Lord. And from this tree, the tree of life, you eat and are satisfied. You eat the flesh of the fruit and drink its nectar and you become a living being.


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