On the Parable of the Sower

Pope Francis' Angelus Address for Sunday, July 13th

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) | 1484 hits

Here below is an English translation of Pope Francis’ Angelus address, delivered at midday to faithful and pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square from the window of the study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This Sunday's Gospel (Mt 13:1-23) shows us Jesus' sermon on the shore of Lake Galilee and, because a large crowd around him, he gets on a boat, moving away a little from the shore and preaches from there. When he speaks to the people, Jesus uses many parables: a language comprehensible to everyone, with images drawn from nature and everyday life situations.

The first is an introduction to all the parables: that of the sower who casts his seed freely on all types of terrain. And the protagonist of this parable is really the seed, which produces fruit, more or less, depending on the land on which it falls. The first three terrains are unproductive: on the path, the seeds are eaten by birds; on the rocky ground, the buds dry quickly because they have no roots; among bushes, the seeds are choked by thorns. The fourth ground is good ground: only there, the seed takes root and bears fruit.

In this case, Jesus doesn’t limit himself to just presenting the parable; he also explains it to his disciples. The seed that fell on the path signifies those who hear the proclamation of the Kingdom of God but do not receive him, so the Evil One comes and takes it away. Evil, in fact, does not want the seed of the Gospel to sprout in the hearts of men. This is the first comparison. The second is the seed that fell on stoney ground: this represents the people who hear the word of God, and receive it immediately, but superficially, because they have no roots and are inconsistent; and when trials and tribulations arrive, these people lose heart immediately. The third case is that of the seed that fell among thorns. Jesus explains that it refers to those who hear the word but, because of worldly concerns and the seduction of wealth, remains stifled. Finally, the seed that fell on fertile soil represents those who hear the word, welcome it, safeguard it, and understand it – and it bears fruit. The perfect model of this good ground is the Virgin Mary.

This parable speaks to each of us today, as it spoke to the listeners of Jesus two thousand years ago. It reminds us that we are the land where the Lord tirelessly throws the seed of His Word and His love. What is our disposition when we receive it? How is our heart? What does the ground look like: a path, a stone, a thorn bush? It's up to us to become good soil without thorns or stones, but tilled and cultivated with care, so that it can bring forth good fruit for us and for our brothers. At every Mass, the good seed of the Gospel is sown in us ever anew, by means of the table of the Word of God: a seed to be accepted, to safeguard, to live. Even in these summer months, during the holiday period, it is important to participate every Sunday at this table, to draw light and strength for our journey.

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After the Angelus prayer:

I extend a heartfelt appeal to all of you to continue to pray earnestly for peace in the Holy Land, in the light of the tragic events of recent days. I still vividly recall the meeting of 8 June with Patriarch Bartholomew, President Peres and President Abbas, with whom we invoked the gift of peace and heard the call to break the cycle of hatred and violence. Some might think that such a meeting took place in vain. But no, because prayer helps us not to allow ourselves to be overcome by evil, nor resign ourselves to violence and hatred taking over dialogue and reconciliation. I urge the parties concerned and all those who have political responsibility at local and international levels to spare a prayer and make some effort to put an end to all hostilities and to achieve the desired peace for the good of all. And I invite everyone to unite in prayer. In silence everyone, let us pray.

The Pope and the faithful then took a moment to pray.

Now, Lord, help us! Grant us peace, teach us peace, guide us toward peace. Open our eyes and our hearts and give us the courage to say: "Never again war!" "Everything is destroyed by war." Strengthen us in courage to take concrete actions to build peace ... Make us willing to listen to the cry of our citizens who are asking us to transform our weapons into instruments of peace, our fears into trust, and our tensions into forgiveness.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I greet you all cordially, Romans and pilgrims!

Today marks "Sea Sunday". I turn my thoughts to seafarers, fishermen and their families. I urge the Christian communities, particularly those living on coasts, that they be attentive and sensitive towards them. I invite the chaplains and volunteers of the Apostleship of the Sea to continue their commitment to the pastoral care of these brothers and sisters. I entrust all, especially those who are in difficulty and away from home, to the maternal protection of Mary, Star of the Sea.

I join in prayer the pastors and the faithful who are participating in the pilgrimage of the Family of Radio Maria at Jasna Gora, Czestochowa. Thank you for your prayers and I cordially bless you.

I now greet with affection all the spiritual sons and daughters of St. Camillus de Lellis, which tomorrow marks the 400th anniversary of his death. I invite the Camillan family, at the height of this jubilee year, to be a sign of the Lord Jesus who, as the Good Samaritan, tends to the wounds of the body and the spirit of suffering humanity, pouring the oil of consolation and the wine of hope. To you who have gathered here in St Peter's Square, as well as to health professionals serving in your hospitals and nursing homes, I wish that you grow more and more in the charism of charity, fueled by daily contact with the sick.

I wish everyone a good Sunday and a good lunch. Goodbye!

[Original text: Italian]

[Translation by ZENIT]