Modern agriculture sows seed very precisely. Along a row, seeds are planted with a specific spacing. In addition, rows are spaced apart horizontally. Thus the amount of seed necessary to plant a field can be calculated from the dimensions of the field. Using modern sowing techniques, seed is not wasted or over-sown. The farmer knows how many seed bags to buy, and can save his costs by not overbuying seed.
This is not the sowing method that Jesus' hearers used. They used the "broadcast" method of sowing. A sower went to the seedpile and held up the bottom of his garment to form a large "pocket." A farm helper poured large quantities of seed into that pocket, as much as the garment could hold without tearing the cloth, "good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over, will they pour into the fold of your garment" (Lk 6:38; see also Ru 3:15ff). Then the sower walked out to the field and simply scattered seed by pulling a handful of seed from the garment and tossing it from side to side as he walked. There is no concept of spacing seeds precisely; rather, the seeds are scattered everywhere in the hopes that a good harvest grows up.
Too often we share the Gospel with a friend who is like us, but we "space over" people who are poor, of a different race, or enemies, and don't share the Gospel with them. Jesus tells us to spread the Gospel everywhere, in all directions, and allow God to work in each person's life. If a radio station used the modern "spacing" method, who would ever hear the broadcast? Would only one of ten homes get the radio signal? God's Word can do the job in every heart (Is 55:10-11). We just have to get the Word out.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2015.