The Heavenly Father gave us both the outer world of Nature and the inner world of the soul, and our readings today speak of the similar ways he communicates with us through those outer and inner worlds.
The Gospel compares the way our souls respond to God’s grace to the way four types of soil might respond to the seed of the Gospel.
First, our souls are like hardened pathways where God’s word are brushed aside, without ever sinking in. (I was once called to the side of a slobbering man, thrown on his back by a stroke. I felt so sorry for him, and In going to see him a week later, I expected to find him ashamed of the disgusting display he had made of himself; but instead I found him grateful for having been roused from a life when he had completely ignored God.)
Secondly, we can be like the thin layer of soil over laying a hard pan of rock. The seed that falls there germinates, but then dies for its not putting down roots. We are like that when we agree with Sunday’ sermon, forgetting it by Monday.
Thirdly, we are like the thorny soil when our vices leave no room for healthy living.
Fourth, we are like healthy soil when we incorporate God’s words into our lives.
Every year when I was teaching the Sixth Grade Religion Class, when we came to this passage in Second Isaiah, I would hold up some dollars, saying that anyone who could memorize it in twelve minutes would win a dollar.
It was fun watching them hurriedly sayig it over and over to themselves. Not many of them won the dollar, and I wonder after all these years how many even vaguely remember the passage.