Eternal God, your voice goes out to all the gathered crowds. Grant us ears to hear all that you would speak to us. Amen.
Matthew 13:1-9 NLT
Later that same day, Jesus left the house and went down to the shore, where an immense crowd soon gathered. He got into a boat, where he sat and taught as the people listened on the shore. He told many stories such as this one:
“A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The plants sprang up quickly, but they soon wilted beneath the hot sun and died because the roots had no nourishment in the shallow soil. Other seeds fell among thorns that shot up and choked out the tender blades. But some seeds fell on fertile soil and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted. Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!”
“A farmer went forth to plant some seed.” Where did He go forth, who is present everywhere, who fills all things? Or how did He go forth? Not in location, but in condition and dispensation to us, coming near to us by clothing Himself with flesh. For because we could not go in, our sins blocking the entrance, He came out to us! And why did he come forth? To destroy that ground full of thorns? To take vengeance on the field-hands? Not at all! But to till and tend it, and sow the word of godliness. For by “seed,” here, He means His teachings; by “ground,” He means the souls of human beings; by “farmer,” He means Himself.
—St. John Chrysostom (347-407) Homilies on Matthew 45.4