Coming of age stories are as old as literature itself. From Odysseus to St. Augustine, from Tom Jones to Jane Eyre, from Celie to Harry Potter. This classic genre captures the struggles, turmoil and adventures young people experience as they mature and develop as human beings. Often these characters must come to grips with the reality of cruelty, dishonesty, hatred and violence. Or they must struggle with their own misconceptions and prejudices. Whatever one’s particular lot in life, one thing is certain, growing up isn’t easy and the journey to maturity is made easier or harder by one’s willingness to be open to others.
The parable of the sower and the seed has many of these same coming-of-age elements. Jesus’ message tells us that spiritual growth is difficult but not impossible if we open ourselves to the reality of the Word of God around us. The more we resist the way of Jesus, the more stunted our growth as we just turn in on ourselves. Odysseus spent years lost and confused, but in the end he finds his way home. That’s what Jesus is hoping we will do too by following His words.