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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Teaching on the Sea of Galilee

Today's Gospel, Mark 4:1-20, tells us that Jesus began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. The picture shows him standing, but I like the idea that he was teaching while sitting down in the boat. The crowd was beside the sea on land. And he taught them at length in parables...
First, we know that Jesus taught by the sea. I went on a tour of the Holy Land and, at the site where tradition has it that Jesus preached the Beatitudes, the guide explained that we call it the Sermon on the Mount but that Jesus would have been on the shore and the crowd seated on the hillside; the sea breezes would then carry his words to the huge crowd. Jesus had no microphone, no bull-horn, but the sea amplified his voice so that all could hear him.

Jesus told the parable of the sower who goes out to sow...later he explains it to his disciples saying, "Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables?" The sower sows the word ...
Their are different responses to the word. It is the seeds sown on rich soil that bear fruit. Those whose seeds fall into rich ground are the ones who recognize the other kinds of soil in themselves - the rocky ground, the hard-earth path, and the word among thorns.
What best describes my soil during these last days of January? The new year is almost a month old and what is my response to Jesus as he sows the word in my life?
How will I cultivate the soil today to receive his word?

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