A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
On leaving the house, Jesus sat down by the lake shore. Such great crowds gathered that Jesus went and took a seat in a boat while the crowd stood along the shore. He addressed them at length in parables:
“One day a farmer went out sowing seed. Some of the seed landed on a footpath, where birds came and ate it up. Some of the seed fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. This seed sprouted at once since the soil had no depth, but when the sun rose and scorched it, it withered away for lack of roots. Again, some of the seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. And some of it landed on good soil, and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, or thirty fold. If you have ears to hear, then listen!”
When the disciples came to Jesus, they asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” Jesus answered, “The secrets of the kindom of Heaven are for you to know, but not for them. To those who have, more will be given until they have an abundance; those who have not will lose what little they have. I use parables when I speak to the people because they look but do not see, they listen but do not hear or understand. Isaiah’s prophecy is being fulfilled in them, which says,
‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts
and turn back to me, and I would heal them.’
“But happy are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. I assure you, many prophets and holy people longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.”
“Now listen to the parable of the sower. When people hear the message about the kindom of God without understanding it, the evil one comes along and snatches away what was sown in their hearts. This is the seed sown along the path. Those who received the seed that fell on rocky ground are the ones who hear the word and at first welcome it with joy. But they have no roots, so they last only for a while. When some setback or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Those who receive the word that fell among the thorns are the ones who hear the word, but then worldly anxieties and the lure of wealth choke it off, and the word produces no fruit. But those who receive the seed that fell on rich soil are those who hear the word and understand it. They produce a crop that yields a hundred, or sixty, or thirty times what was sown.”
The Good News as spoken through Matthew.