Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A (July 16, 2017): The seed sown on rich soil.

Thứ Bảy, 15-07-2017 | 16:09:10

Today’s Readings:

Isaiah 55:10-11
Ps 65:10-14 (with Luke 8:8)
Romans 8:18-23
Matthew 13:1-23

USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore. 
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow. 
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up. 
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. 
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots. 
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. 
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. 
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

The disciples approached him and said,
“Why do you speak to them in parables?” 
He said to them in reply,
“Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. 
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. 
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted,
and I heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear. 
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

“Hear then the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one
who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it,
and the evil one comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. 
But he has no root and lasts only for a time. 
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away. 
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit. 
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

Good News Reflection:

This Sunday’s readings are about sowing seeds. The important thing to remember about seed sowing is that the effort is worthless if the seeds are not changed by being cast to the ground. Each seed must give up its former self, dying in the dirt while new life stirs within it. Only then can it send out a tender, first root, which will multiply and grow stronger and deeper to support upward growth. Even so, it has to be properly nourished to survive.

If all this takes place, the end result is a plant that looks nothing like the seed, which as it grows develops the ever-more important mission of benefitting the wider world of Nature beyond itself.

As we listen to Jesus explain the parable, we say yes, we want to be seeds that become fruitful lives. But desiring it does not automatically transform us. What is it that makes the soil of our lives rich and growth-producing?

The reading from Isaiah tells us that it is God himself who is the rich soil — God and his Word. Saint Paul reminds us in the second reading that suffering is part of creation (seeds must fall in the dirt and die in order to produce a fruitful life). Redemption grows from suffering and death.

We will never feel truly fulfilled until we’ve surrendered to the soil and have allowed God to nourish our growth.

Questions for Personal Reflection:
What tender, new roots do you have that are sprouting from times of suffering and loss? What blessings are springing up from them? What ministry (what benefit to others) could be a fruitful gift of these blessings?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Share what it means to give up your former self to allow new life to stir and grow. What is the will of God (what does the Word say) regarding the end result? Give examples from your life or from the lives of others.

Today’s Prayer:

Help me, Lord, to discern the soil in which You want me to sow Your Word. Make me recognize You wherever You are, and in the humblest of my brothers and sisters. Help me to marvel whenever I watch Your works in miracles and in everyday deeds. Amen.

© 2017 by Terry A. Modica

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