“Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’”
And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:1-20
Without turning back a few pages or looking elsewhere, can you remember the stories you read on the front page of today’s Daily Journal?
Unless something strikes us as very important or because we really pay close attention, words often make momentary impressions. In the ear, across the brain, then out of mind and memory.
Jesus was talking about a similar kind of attention span in his conversation in Mark 4.
Jesus talked about seeing but not perceiving, hearing without understanding, and halfway listening and not remembering.
Jesus tells his disciples in the parables in the fourth chapter of Mark that listening with attention and understanding is very important. Reading and acting on what Jesus says in the chapter is really important because it’s about life and how it has meaning. It’s about understanding God’s presence, grace, forgiveness – and God’s call individually to us as part of a great venture that is world-changing.
Lent is the perfect time to learn or re-learn how to understand, listen, pay attention, and respond to God.
Take time to re-read today’s headlines, especially the news about our nation and world.
Our nation and world have big troubles. We may be part of the problems; we may be unwittingly caught in them. What will we do?
Remember: “Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”