The first collection of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel of Matthew is called Sermon on the Mount because Jesus gives it on the mountain. The parables of the Kingdom, on the other hand, are taught by Jesus as he sits down by the sea while the crowd stand along the shore. The first parable, that of the sower, explains why some Jews accept Jesus’ “word of the Kingdom” while others reject it. The parable lists the reasons why people do not accept and act upon Jesus’ preaching: the evil one is at work (the birds that eat up the seed), some people are too shallow (the rocky ground), while others are preoccupied with worldly concerns and the desire for material possessions (the thorns). The ideal disciple, on the other hand, is one who “hears the word and understands it” (the rich soil).
GOSPEL • Mt 13:1-9
On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. 9Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
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