The Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the 16th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 13:18-23.

After describing to the disciples the mysterious reasons why He teaches in parables, Christ continues with His “Sermon in Parables” in Matthew 13 by revealing to His disciples an in-depth understanding of the Parable of the Sower. This magnificent parable describes the disposition of men to hear God, the Spiritual Combat, the confirmation of Satan’s work in the world and God’s high expectations of fruitfulness for His men.

Christ describes four different dispositions (Soils) to God’s (the Sower) announcement (Sowing) of the word of Kingdom of Heaven (the Seed). Men who hear about the Kingdom but because of their worldliness and hardness of heart (the path) fail to understand and are seduced by the Evil One/Satan (the birds). Men who hear but only have an initial shallow emotional reaction (rocky ground with shallow roots) fall away when tribulation/persecution (the scorching sun) occurs.  Men who hear but prefer and are choked by the pleasures of the world (the thorns) fail to bear fruit. Men who hear, understand and persevere to enter the Kingdom (the good soil), spread love and make disciples (bear extraordinary fruit) for God (the Sower).

Christ seeks men who will hear, understand, have an absolute commitment to the Kingdom of Heaven and who bear much fruit (the good soil). All others in Christ’s parable who do not give themselves completely to Him face bad outcomes: some are seduced by Satan, others are “scorched” by troubles in the world and some are “choked” out by riches/pleasures and become sterile.  Only the “good soil” men will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine King, Christ reveals the reactions of men to His Kingdom and accepts only men who understand and give themselves totally to bear signifiant fruit. Divine Teacher, Christ draws men to Him through parables that are memorable, approachable and mysterious. Divine Judge, Christ makes it clear that many men (the path, rocky ground, thorny ground) will fail to meet His expectations and will not enter into the eternal life of the Kingdom.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Christ’s description of the “soils” in the Parable of the Sower accurately describe today’s Catholic “man-crisis”; very few Catholic men (perhaps about 10%) fervently practice the faith and are passionate about making disciples. Marvel at Christ’s all-knowing and eternal understanding of the souls of men.

2) Christ condemns men’s sterile reactions (indifference, emotionalism, preference for the world) to His invitation to the Kingdom. Consider the Sins against God’s Love (CCC 29, 2094) and pray for Christ to give you a burning desire to give yourself completely to Him.

3) 3) Christ has extremely high expectations (100, 60 and 30 fold!) for the fruit men fit for the Kingdom of Heaven must produce, fruitfulness only possible for men who are moved by the Holy Spirit. Consider the need for Fruitfulness and Holiness (CCC 546, 2074, 2012-2016) and with a hard eye and Holy Fear, face your own fruitfulness and pray for Christ to send the Holy Spirit to help you to be more fruitful.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ

Virtue of the Day – Faith

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries