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Lectionary reflections - Year A
Ordinary Time
Proper 10

Isaiah 55.10–13
Romans 8.1–11
Matthew 13.1–9, 18–23

Why is God so profligate? With the second half of today’s reading from Matthew, the emphasis switches from God’s action to our response; but the first half of the story is all that the listening crowds get, and their reaction must have been one of incredulity.
Jesus’s audience may not all be farmers themselves, but they would all be much closer to the food-production cycle than most of us are. They would have known famine and shortage, and they would know that a sensible farmer does not just fling the seeds all over the place. He prepares the ground as well as he can in advance, precisely so that the seeds don’t fall on rocky ground or among thorns. Whatever is
this sower in the story up to?

No wonder the disciples need an explanation. The one that they got has provided generations of Sunday-school lessons, with the emphasis on how we receive the word of God, so generously scattered abroad. But it is still an immensely puzzling story. For one thing, it is hard to see what those who hear God’s word are supposed to do about it. It isn’t clear that any blame attaches to them. For instance, can it be entirely their own fault if they don’t understand what is being said to them? I suppose the shallow people, and the ones who allow themselves to be distracted by ‘the cares of the world and the lure of wealth’ could be said to deserve what they get, up to a

Taken from Lectionary reflections year A by Jane Williams - Published by SPCK

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