By Quin Hillyer at PJ Media;

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the familiar parable of the sower, in which seed spread on rocky ground, or among thorns, or on an unguarded path, all fail to adequately take root and yield a lasting harvest. The seed sowed on good soil, though — the Word of God received by someone both willing and conditioned to truly understand it — yields as much as a hundredfold of bounty.

Today’s version from Matthew doesn’t specify what qualities allow someone to “hear and understand” the Word, but the version of the parable in Luke does: “an honest and good heart.”

The question then becomes, how do we create an honest and good heart, one where the will exists, and the conditioning has been provided, so that the seed can find good soil, and thus that the Word can by truly understood, accepted, and lived by?

[later in the column]…

[A]ll of us together can, and indeed should feel a responsibility to, help create the conditions in which hearts can be well prepared. Farmers know that in many cases good soil must be watered, perhaps fertilized, and tilled. The soil does not do those things for or by itself.

We have a communal responsibility — not through any humanly (much less governmentally) enforced mandates or force, but through voluntary choice and action — to create an atmosphere where an openness to God’s Word, and His love, can be achieved.

In earlier of these weekly columns I have shared vignettes from the grade school I was lucky enough to attend, Trinity Episcopal School in New Orleans. Here’s another — one giving an example of how a community can create fertile soil….

[The full column is here.]