From: Luke 8:4-15
Parable of the Sower. The Meaning of the Parables
 And when a great crowd came together and people from town after
town came to Him (Jesus), He said in a parable:  "A sower went out
to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was
trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it.  And some
fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had
no moisture.  And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew
with it and choked it.  And some feel into good soil and grew, and
yielded a hundredfold." As He said this, He called out, "He who has
ears to hear, let him hear."
 And when His disciples asked Him what this parable meant, 
He said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the Kingdom
of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may
not see, and hearing they may not understand.  Now the parable
is this: The seed is the word of God.  The ones along the path are
those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word
from their hearts, that they may not believe and be saved.  And the
ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it
with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time
of temptation fall away.  And as for what fell among the thorns,
they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked
by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not
mature.  And as for that in the good soil, they are those who,
hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring
forth fruit with patience."
4-8. Our Lord explains this parable in verses 11-15. The seed is Jesus
Himself and His preaching; and the different kinds of ground it falls on
reflect people's different attitudes to Jesus and His teaching. Our Lord
sows the life of grace in souls through the preaching of the Church and
through an endless flow of actual graces.
10-12. Jesus uses parables to teach people the mysteries of the
supernatural life and thereby lead them to salvation. However, He
foresaw that, due to the bad dispositions of some of His listeners,
these parables would lead them to harden their hearts and to reject
grace. For a fuller explanation of the purpose of parables see the
notes on Matthew 13:10-13 and Mark 4:11-12.
12. Some people are so immersed in a life of sin that they are the
patch on which falls the seed "which suffers from two kinds of hazard:
it is trodden on by wayfarers and snatched by birds. The path, there-
fore, is the heart, which is trodden on by the frequent traffic of evil
thoughts, and cannot take in the seed and let it germinate because
it is so dried up" (St. Bede, "In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").
Souls hardened by sin can become good soil and bear fruit through
sincere repentance and penance. We should note the effort the devil
makes to prevent souls from being converted.
13. "Many people are pleased by what they hear, and they resolve to
do good; but as soon as they experience difficulties they give up the
good words they started. Stony ground has not enough soil, which is
why the shoots fail to produce fruit. There are many who, when they
hear greed criticized, do conceive a loathing for it and extol the scor-
ning of it; but as soon as the soul sees something else that it desires,
it forgets what it previously promised. There are also others who when
they hear talk against impurity not only desire not to be stained by the
filth of the flesh but are even ashamed of the stains that they already
bear; but as soon as bodily beauty presents itself to their eyes, their
heart is so drawn by desires that it is as if they had done or decided to
do nothing against these desires, and they act in a manner deserving
condemnation and in a way which they themselves previously con-
demned when they reflected on their behavior. Very often we feel com-
punction for our faults and yet we go back and commit them even after
bemoaning them" (St. Gregory the Great, "In Evangelia Homiliae", 15).
14. This is the case of people who after receiving the divine seed, the
Christian calling, and having stayed on the right path for some time,
begin to give up the struggle. These souls run the risk of developing a
istaste for the things of God and of taking the easy, and wrong, way
of seeking compensations suggested to them by their disordered
ambition for power and their desire for material wealth and a comfor-
table life involving no suffering.
A person in this situation begins to be lukewarm and tries to serve two
masters: "It is wrong to have two candles lighted--one to St. Michael
and another to the devil. We must snuff out the devil's candle; we
must spend our lives completely in the service of the Lord. If our desire
for holiness is sincere, if we are docile enough to place ourselves in
God's hands, everything will go well. For He is always ready to give
us His grace" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 59).
15. Jesus tells us that the good soil has three features--listening to
God's demands with the good disposition of a generous heart; striving
to ensure that one does not water down these demands as time goes
by; and, finally, beginning and beginning again and not being dishear-
tened if the fruit is slow to appear. "You cannot `rise'. It's not surprising:
"Persevere and you will `rise'. Remember what a spiritual writer has
said: your poor soul is like a bird whose wings are caked with mud.
"Suns of heaven are needed and personal efforts, small and constant,
to shake off those inclinations, those vain fancies, that depression:
that mud clinging to your wings.
"And you will see yourself free. If you persevere, you will `rise'" ([St] J.
Escriva, "The Way", 991).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries".
Biblical text from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate.
Commentaries by members of the Faculty of Theology, University
of Navarre, Spain.
Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin,
Reprinted with permission from from Four Courts Press and Scepter
Publishers, the U.S. publishers.