Jesus decided to tell a story to the many people who had come to hear him. “A sower went out to sow,” he said. “And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
Later, after the crowd had gone home, the apostles asked Jesus a question. “Why do you speak to them in parables?”
Jesus answered, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
Jesus wanted his apostles to know he was following the words of the Scriptures, so he said to them, “This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’ Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see.’”
Jesus wanted to make another comparison to the earlier prophets for the sake of his friends, so he told them, “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
Then Jesus explained the meaning of the parable of the sower and the seeds. “The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. …
“The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it.”
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. Why does Jesus use parables when speaking to the crowd?
2. How does Jesus let his friends know that he is following the Scriptures?
Matthew was working as a tax collector when Jesus called him to be one of his first apostles. Many people of the time would have said that a tax collector would have been an unlikely person to be a follower of the Messiah, but Jesus must have seen the good inside of Matthew to have called him. Matthew researched the family history of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, and recorded it in his Gospel along with a beautiful telling of the Christmas story. Matthew wanted to persuade his readers that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God. Matthew’s Gospel contains many of the most famous stories about Jesus, including his baptism by John, the calling of the apostles, the beatitudes and the Passion narrative. Scholars cannot conclusively say how Matthew died, but with his life he left behind a legacy as an important early Christian writer.
St. Bonaventure, who was born in Italy in 1221, joined the order of Friars Minor and was educated at the University of Paris. He enjoyed preaching, and his sermons were inspiring to many. While still at the university, he wrote one of his most well-known theological works, “The Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard.” St. Bonaventure wrote another paper, “Concerning Perfection of Life,” for Isabella, the sister of St. Louis IX and a leader of the Poor Clares. When he was appointed the minister general of the Friars Minor, he wrote a paper to settle a dispute between two groups of friars. Pope Clement IV nominated St. Bonaventure Archbishop of York but asked the pope to accept his refusal. In 1273, Pope Gregory X named him Cardinal-Bishop of Albano, near Rome. St. Bonaventure died in 1274. We honor him on July 15.