The online dictionary defines hunger in two ways: firstly, as a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, and secondly, it goes with the desire to eat.
Therefore, in hunger, there is a feeling of discomfort until one gets what he wants. Also, there is a desire and craving to get what you want.
Therefore, when there is the hunger for the Word of God, we see that inner desire and craving to hear the word of God and keep to it.
Here, the recipient becomes uncomfortable until he listens or reads the word of God for the day.
In the readings, we see what happens when we hear the word of God and do not keep to it and when we hear and keep to it. The latter is the only way that ensures productivity.
In fact, what the parable of the sower portrays today is that it is not everyone that hears the word of God do understand, believe or keep to it. But great things await the one who can put it into practice, and such a thing cannot happen when there is no hunger for it.
When there is a hunger for the word, we can do everything to keep it because we know what it means and the rewards it can bring into our lives. In Luke 11:28, Jesus blesses those who hear the word of God and keeps to it. Therefore the only way we can be certain of bearing fruits is when there is a hunger for the word.
The hunger to do something shows the eagerness and love we have for that thing. When we have that inner desire for God’s word, we will long to put them into practice. Hence, Putting them into practice can be highly rewarding.
The Hunger for the Word.
In today’s gospel, Jesus leaves the house He is before and decides to go to the lakeside and sit there. Within a few minutes, the crowd gather around Jesus. Because of this, He gets into a boat and sits there. The people stand on the beach, and He teaches them many things in parables.
This indicates that the parable of the sower which forms the major part of today’s gospel is not the only parable or the only teaching from Jesus today. Maybe only this one may be recorded.
In essence, there are many things Jesus taught them that day.
In this attitude of Jesus, we see this hunger to teach the people the truth. For example, Before the feeding of five thousand (Mark 6:30-44), Jesus takes His time to teach the people first and in this way truly fulfils that man shall not live by bread alone (Matthew 4:4). Today again, Jesus takes His time to teach the people the truth about the kingdom of God. So, In Jesus we see this hunger to teach the people and direct them to the truth.
The question we are to ask ourselves is “what do we teach people who come to us? What are you teaching your children, your friends and your students? What imprint do we leave on those people who come to us for direction? Do we worsen their situation? Do we teach the truth?
Can we boldly tell them what is evil and what is not? Can someone who will encounter you today be positively influenced? Sometimes when people come to us for direction and guidance, they leave worse than they came. Like Jesus, let us always take time to teach the people who come to us seeking that their lives be changed, people who always come seeking for friendly advice, parental instructions, spiritual guidance and direction. When there is truly the hunger for the word of God, there is always the hunger to teach it or make others know more about it.
Secondly, after the parable, Jesus tells the people, whoever has ears let him listen. Therefore, it means that there is something in the word of God that we do not know. So, Jesus is teaching us that listening to Him and keeping to whatever He says is a very powerful secret that we have to learn and keep.The servants at the wedding at Cana did this and something great happened (John 2). The centurion also obeyed, and great thing happened (Matthew 8:5-13).
To keep His word is the secret of wisdom, healing, the secret of eternal life and the secret of success. When there is the hunger for the word of God, we can do everything possible to always read or listen to it as Jesus instructs us to do.
If your family is lacking peace, Jesus is telling you forgive your brother again (Matthew 6:14-15). If you are bearing grudges for another person or you hate someone, Jesus says “love one another (John 15:12). When you are weak to pray, Jesus says pray always (Luke 18). If you are dying in worry, Jesus says do not worry (Matthew 6:34). When you are lazy to work, Jesus says reminds that we have talents and we must put them to work (Matthew 25:14-30) and many others.
But today we are forsaking the word of God. This is the reason we are suffering, living in crisis and division everywhere. We even find it easy to follow the wrong advice of our friends and those we think we love more than we do to God’s word.
Sometimes, when we are faced with the choice of keeping the word of God and making Him happy and that of the words of a beloved one and making him or her happy, we often abandon God’s word to choose the words of the other person. Some people easily swallow whatever they see on the internet, but when the word of God is read, they give a thousand excuses why they do not put God’s word into work. In us today is the lack of such hunger for the word of God.
God speaks to us every day, yet we do not have His time. Behind the word of God is the secret of open doors, spiritual strength, holiness and eternal life. Yet we abandon these to pursue shadows.
When There is No Hunger for the Word.
In the gospel, Jesus tells us the parable of the sower. The sower goes out to sow some seeds. As he sows, some seeds fall on the edge of the path, and the birds come and eat them up. Others fall on patches of rock where they find little soil and they spring up straight away because there is no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun comes up, they are scorched and, not having any roots, they wither away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grow up and choke them.
The last seeds are those who fall on rich soil and produce their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
We can divide this parable into the first and second parts. In the first part are the seeds that fall on the edge of the path, patches of the rock, and those that fall among thorns. The seeds are not able to germinate properly because they do not fall on the productive ground.
So, when the land is not prepared to receive the seed, the growth of the seed will surely be affected.
We encounter this when the hunger for the word is lacking, or when the hunger may be there but a willingness to keep to the word is lacking.
Therefore what this parable is invariably telling us is that when we do not have the hunger to keep to His word and apply it in our daily lives, it is also a decision not to be productive. It is a decision to lose eternal life and a decision to forsake God. Yet this is where many of us today choose to live.
To Keep the Word.
Jesus ends His parable with the seeds that fall on rich soil and produce their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Therefore, Jesus is teaching us that keeping the word and living by them is already a decision to be productive. Therefore, the hunger to keep the word of God is not a waste of effort. There is something in that which we do not know.
Hence, To keep the word of God is a wise decision and not foolishness. We keep to the word because it is the “Word from God”. If it is the word from God, then we do owe nothing to it if not our obedience.
The obedience to keep the word of God is not to put us in chains but to make us live well, prosper and have eternal life at last.
Imagine a planet where there is peace everywhere. Imagine a family where everyone loves and helps each other. Think with me that if we live in a world without unnecessary competition, hatred and envy. Such a world will be heaven on earth, and this is what Jesus is preaching ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself” yet we harden our hearts to live the way we want. Let us develop that hunger for God’s word again.
Finally. when Jesus says, hundredfold, sixtyfold, thirty etc, Jesus is here telling us that God gifts each of us differently. What we produce must not be the same as what others produce. We produce at a different pace.
Therefore, what God is interested in is putting His word into practice. Surely, there must be productivity, though what we produce may vary.
So, do not kill yourself when you see others higher than you, or on more level than you do. Always work at your own pace. God will still bless your efforts.
So, our question today is “Where is that hunger for the word of God that you have before? Whose word do we keep the most and faster? Is it the word of God or the word of another person?
May God have mercy on us and give us the grace to develop the hunger for the word of God. May He never abandon us. Amen