by Oliver Carlos
Papaya is one of my favorite fruits, especially the Red Lady variety. This fruit originally grows in Mexico. The Spanish conquistadores found its taste as heavenly and so they called it “angel’s butter.” They were the ones who brought it here via the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade hundreds of years ago. Today, we can find it growing everywhere here in the Philippines. Its fruits are in every public market, talipapa, and even in supermarkets. This means that there’s a large demand for papaya among Filipino consumers. I love its unique sweet taste. But the best thing I like about it is its alleged property of preventing colon cancer.
Whenever I eat papaya for dessert, I throw the seeds in our yard. I broadcast it on various spots and hope they sprout. I wanted to have papaya fruits plucked at home, so I won’t need to go out and buy from the palengke.
I observed that some seeds sprout, and some do not. I also notice that papaya grows well on some corners of our yard, while they don’t in some other nook. I’m still trying to figure out what makes them grow here and not there.
One day, while having a video call with my Dad, I gave him a virtual tour of my garden. I showed him my little delicate rambutan seedling, my majestic malunggay trees, my robustly crawling alugbati plants, and my surprising papaya grove. I mentioned to him that the papaya trees (papaya plants as my Mom would call them) seemed to have grown out of nowhere. I just threw the seeds there, and now I have several healthy papaya trees that are over 6 feet tall. I also told my Dad that the seeds I threw at the front yard didn’t sprout at all, while the ones on a certain spot near the backdoor would grow only to turn yellow, wilt, and die when they reach a certain height.
I was surprised at what my Dad replied to me. He said it’s all about the soil. He then went on to talk about the Parable of the Sower. He narrated the parable like an expert Bible teacher. I’m so glad he talks like that because he was never like that in his 70 years. It’s just recently that he found great enthusiasm and joy in studying the Bible. My brother Jay-R who was in the US bought him a Bible that has size 16 font letters, and had it delivered to him here in the Philippines. It arrived the past week, and it got our old man reading it daily with zest and excitement.
There’s great truth in what my Dad read about in his giant Bible. The papaya seeds can be compared to God’s words which are sown by the sower in the hearts of people. In the parable, some seeds were eaten by birds, some were choked by weeds and vines, some sprouted on rocky soil, but soon withered, while some fell on good soil and reaped a harvest.
In real life, some people who hear God’s word would be glad about it, but soon forget it due to the trials and worries that choke them. But blessed are the ones who hear, accept the word, and allow it take roots in their hearts, and grow spiritual fruits later on.
“But what about the seed that fell on the good ground? That is like the people who hear the teaching and understand it. They grow and produce a good crop, sometimes 100 times more, sometimes 60 times more, and sometimes 30 times more.” (Matthew 13:23, ERV)
Today, my prayer for you dear reader is that your heart become like the good soil in the parable. I pray that the Bible lessons you read stay in your heart and grow deep roots. I hope you won’t forget them, but instead treasure them. May God’s words make you strong and joyful now and forevermore.