Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
13:1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.
13:2 Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach.
13:3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow.
13:4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up.
13:5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil.
13:6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away.
13:7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.
13:8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
13:9 Let anyone with ears listen!"
13:18 "Hear then the parable of the sower.
13:19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.
13:20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
13:21 yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away.
13:22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.
13:23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."
You'll notice that 9 verses are left out. This is one of the passages that occurs in the three Synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is obvious that both Matthew and Luke had a copy of Mark's gospel in front of them as they wrote, a decade or more later. "Synoptic" is a word you can figure out from the Greek pretty easily. "Syn" as in 'synonyms", means "the same" and 'optic' means 'to see'. So those three gospels 'see' the 'same' because Mark makes up 50% of Luke and Matthew.
Here's the gospel without the left out verses:
Matt.13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.
 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach.
 And he told them many things in parables, saying: "A sower went out to sow.
 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.
 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil,
 but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away.
 Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.
 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
 He who has ears, let him hear."
 Then the disciples came and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"
 And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
 For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
 With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: `You shall indeed hear but never understand,
and you shall indeed see but never perceive.
 For this people's heart has grown dull,
and their ears are heavy of hearing,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should perceive with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their heart,
and turn for me to heal them.'
 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
 Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
 "Hear then the parable of the sower.
 When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path.
 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
 As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."
I underlined and made bold what was left out.
The Lectionary people took out the whole meaning of this passage in all three synoptic gospels. It makes it seem, in what I will read on Sunday, that Jesus explains 'the parable' to the crowds. But he doesn't if you put in the missing verses. He only explains it to the disciples and tells them he speaks in parables so they will not understand!!!
This is the 'secrecy motif' of the synoptic gospels. This motif does not exist in John, not at all. But it is part and parcel of Mark, Matthew and Luke. Jesus is always telling people not to tell others about what he does. Scholars have fretted over this for centuries. Why would Jesus want to be 'secret'?
That's a different conversation. What I want to know is why don't those folks who put together the Revised Common Lectionary not want us to hear those missing 9 verses.
Is it because they make the whole passage more problematic--why would Jesus tell the disciples the 'meaning' of the parable but not the crowds that followed him
Is it because this whole passage in all three Synoptic Gospels completely misunderstands the nature of a 'parable'? A parable is a story with one meaning. Parables are more like jokes than any thing. You 'get' them or you don't. Jesus turns the 'parable' into an 'allegory', the only time that happens in the gospels. Parable come's from the Greek word para-ballien, which means 'to throw out together'. There is a story and a meaning, thrown out together, and you either get the meaning of the story or not. In this case, Jesus explains the 'parable' to the disciples as an 'allegory' where every thing in the story stands for something else.
Maybe the Lectionary folks didn't want that to come up any more than they wanted the 'secrecy motif' to impinge on people's understanding. Maybe they just wanted it all to be simple and clear.
But Truth isn't 'simple' or 'clear'. Truth is complex, convoluted and obscure.
Maybe the Lectionary folks (and this is my best guess) don't trust lay folks to deal with complexity, convolutedness, obscurity and paradox. That's what I think.
I think lay folks can easily handle all that. So this Sunday at St. Andrew's in Northford, I'm going to tell them all this and let them sort it out--the whole 'secrecy motif' and the whole parable/allegory thing.
I think they can deal with it. I really do. I trust lay folks a lot more that I trust the people who put together the Revised Common Lectionary.