These verses contain what is known as the allegory of the parable of 13,10-17. Unlike Mark who does not give it a name, Matthew names it the Parable of the Sower (13,18), and in doing so concentrates attention on the Sower. While in the Marcan interpretation there is confusion as to whether the seed is the word (as in Mark 4,14) or the hearers (as in Mark 4,16. 18.20), Matthew rewrites Mark to avoid this confusion but does not succeed fully in this endeavour. Matthew also specifies that the word that is sown is the word of the kingdom. While in Mark collective nouns are used focussing on a group of people, Matthew emphasises individual responsibility by changing the nouns to the singular. Despite these changes, Matthew essentially adopts the interpretation of the Parable as in Mark 4,13-20 where it is understood as the Church’s reflection on its bearing witness to the Gospel that Christ inaugurated.
Christianity is both an individual and communitarian religion. Each sacrament has both the individual and communitarian dimensions. This means that while on the one hand we are each responsible for the other, we are also responsible for ourselves and need to make our commitment individually. We cannot disown this responsibility or thrust it on the community.