St. Paul, writing to the people of Philippi said, “God, for his own good purpose, works in you both to desire and to accomplish.” He was saying there that every good deed we perform begins with God giving us the idea of doing it, it is carried through only because God urged us on to get it done. That saying of Paul’s is a good commentary on today’s Gospel about the sower going out to sow his seed. Jesus said the seed was the word of God. That is, it is the idea of doing good that God puts in our mind.
The parable describes four different ways we respond to God’s inspirations. We can be like the path where the seed doesn’t sink in. That could happen when we are at Mass, and the priest suggests something worthwhile for us to do. For a moment we think about doing it, but then we start thinking about lunch, and what we will wear, and what we will do afterwards; and we will altogether forget about what the priest suggested.
In the parable the seed next fell on the inch and a half of good soil on top of a hidden rock pan. You are like that soil when you are initially enthused about the good intentions God puts in your mind. But like the thin soil where the green shoots can’t take root, you burst out with talk about what you are going to accomplish, but you don’t make the practical plans which are like the deep roots a plant needs to survive.
You are like the thorny soil when laziness or greed have such a hold on you that you can’t work up the energy and the generosity needed to accomplish the word God put in your mind.
Finally, and very often, when God inspires you to do something worthwhile you throw yourself into the task, getting it done, bearing much fruit.