In our Gospel today, we hear the familiar Parable of the Sower. Jesus explains the parable to His disciples, which is aimed at the hearers of the Word. But the focus of this reflection is on Jesus’ initial response to the disciples’ question about the parable.
Jesus says that the secrets of the kingdom of God will be revealed to some while others will not be able to recognize nor understand the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11-12)? Why is this so?
Origen (185-254 AD), an early church Bible scholar, comments on why Jesus makes a distinction between those who are ready to hear and understand his message with those who are not ready to hear nor understand:
"Sometimes it does not turn out to be an advantage for one to be healed quickly or superficially, especially if the disease by this means becomes even more shut up in the internal organs where it rages more fiercely. Therefore God, who perceives secret things and who knows all things before they come to be, in his great goodness delays the healing of such persons and defers the remedy to a later time. If I may speak paradoxically, God heals them by not healing them, lest a premature recovery of health should render them incurable. This pertains to those whom our Lord and Savior addressed as 'those outside,' whose hearts and reins he searches out. Jesus covered up the deeper mysteries of the faith in veiled speech to those who were not yet ready to receive his teaching in straightforward terms. The Lord wanted to prevent the unready from being too speedily converted and only cosmetically healed. If the forgiveness of their sins were too easily obtained, they would soon fall again into the same disorder of sin which they imagined could be cured without any difficulty." (ON FIRST PRINCIPLES 3.1.7)
How many of us can relate to these words of Origen? We go on retreat and are touched by God’s Divine Grace as we open ourselves to receive His love. We experience that “Transfiguration moment” and want to remain in His presence. But when we return to the reality of life, we often fall back into the habits that caused our need for healing in the first place.
The solution is to approach Jesus in prayer with faith and humility and the readiness to be taught. When we remain open to receive what God has planned for us, he will always give us more than we can imagine.
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection
Do you approach God's word with trust and humility or with doubtful pride and skepticism?