This Sunday’s title refers to the time until Easter – but the liturgy repeats the term in relation to how much we should increase faith.
Seated on the side of a boat, our Lord preached on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, and the seed which He scattered fell into hearts more or less favourably disposed to receive it. St. Matthew (XIII, 18) and St. Mark (IV, 13) tell us that, so to speak, three of the resulting crops failed in different ways according as the good seed fell on ground which was rocky (hearts hardened by pride), barren (dried up by self-interest), or full of thorns (where sins of sensuality flourish); while three produced excellent results, the word of God in the good ground bringing forth fruit thirty, sixty and a hundredfold. Furthermore, the Church reminds us of the name of this Sunday, Sexagesima, for among the names which she uses, she lingers over this one: “Some seed fell upon good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, sexagesimum.”
Here is a plan for us to follow. In our spiritual life, let us at least produce sixty-fold, that is, receiving the word of God in a good and perfect heart, let us cause it to bear fruit by our patience so that He, who spent His life scattering His holy teaching among souls, sparso verbi semine (Pange Lingua) and who carries on the same work by his apostles and His Church, may bestow upon us the reward promised to those who persevere in the generous practice of their faith.
It was through the Word that God made the world in the beginning (last Gospel), and it is by the preaching of His Gospel that our Lord came to bring men to a new birth. “Being born again,” says St. Peter, “not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God who liveth and reigneth forever” (I Peter I, 23).
Dom Gaspar Lefebvre, OSB, 1945, adapted and abridged.