Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 12
May Each One of Us Become That Rich and Fertile Soil in Which God’s Word May Take Firm Root, Producing Much Fruit in Our Individual Walks of Faith.
In today’s Gospel, our Lord is teaching His disciples a lesson in fruitfulness, “…the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word [of God] and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”
When you and I look at the world around us in which we live today, it oftentimes becomes very distressing to read the front page of the newspaper, or to view the evening or nightly news. We find in untold societies throughout the world cultural and ethnic hatreds, violence, religious intolerance, starvation and disease for millions of people in third world countries.
I do not know about you, but I find myself asking the question, “Why is it so difficult for some people to be tolerant and respectful of others, especially those who are truly the poor and impoverished, those who are struggling just to remain alive – in a world which has enough food to feed all the hungry, enough medicine to treat all the sick?”
Sadly, the most important ingredient required to care for our brothers and sisters in need is missing in the hearts of many – and that ingredient is selfless love.
Most of the world religions today recognize the importance of respecting the dignity of the human person. Most of the world religions are conscious of the fact that such respect must first come from within each one of us.
So what causes us, as a people in general, to close our eyes, to close our hearts to the needs of those who suffer? What causes some nations and governments to deny the basic help and dignity to which every human person is entitled?
Our Scripture Readings today bear some much needed light on this issue. In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us the parable of the sower, and seed which he plants in different environments. Both you and I can reflect upon our own lives; and, prayerfully, we should find within ourselves that we are that rich and fertile soil wherein the seed, which is God’s Word, has taken firm root.
And because we have opened the ears of our hearts to His Word, and have allowed His Loving Presence to dwell within us and take root, prayerfully, we have also borne good fruit in those whom our lives have touched.
But what about all the people we either read or hear about in the news, people who are in a position to make this world a better place in which we live, people who could truly make a difference for those who are less fortunate? And, without being judgmental, in what sort of environment do we find their hearts and souls? How do their lives impact upon those around them?
Jesus told His disciples that not everyone would understand His parables. He was aware that some who would hear His words would refuse to understand them. It wasn’t that they could not intellectually understand them; but rather that their hearts were closed to what Jesus was teaching. They had already made up their minds not to listen, not to believe.
What causes a person to become unaffected or unresponsive to God’s Word? Preoccupation with other things can distract us from what is truly important and worthwhile. And letting our hearts and minds be consumed with materialism and secularistic pleasures can easily weigh us down and draw us away from the true treasure which we should be storing-up in Heaven, a treasure which awaits us and which lasts for eternity.
God’s Word can only take root in a receptive heart, which is docile and ready to hear what God has to say.
Many years ago, I remember the injustices that were committed on the part of several governmental agencies – local, state and federal – against the displaced peoples of New Orleans, Louisiana as a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.
And what about all the pharmaceutical companies who prefer to profit greedily on the many life-saving medicines they provide which could save tens of thousands of people throughout the world who are seriously sick, especially in underdeveloped countries? Such corporate greed only serves to make the poor poorer and the sick even sicker!
Here, we find examples of the seed falling by the wayside or on rocky ground or amidst thorns. The Word of God never really took root, for either the seed was taken away or it withered and died or it was choked by the thorns of greed associated with materialism!
And yet, we know that God never stops trying to reach out to us. He never ceases to invite us into a more loving and intimate relationship with Himself. He never ceases to continue planting more seed in the hearts of His children.
We find hope in this relationship with God when we hear Him speaking to us through the prophet Isaiah in today’s First Reading, “…so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”
Yet, even in this hope, for those whose hearts are opened to the Spirit of God’s Truth, we still find ourselves hungry, we find ourselves still yearning for more, as Saint Paul tells us, “We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves…”
In the midst of a climate of peoples, cultures and nations which has closed itself off to God’s Word, it is incumbent upon us that we become all that God wants us to be, even if the only difference we can make in this world is the love and help given to one person, one soul at a time.
God is inviting us to be open to His Word, that we be receptive to His invitation to each of us, that we become Christ-like to everyone we meet – especially to those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We see them on the street corners; we see them in the soup lines; we see them in the homeless, the indigent and the destitute. They are the examples of the suffering Christ in our own midst.
By virtue of our Baptism, and the strengthening we have each received through the Sacraments, especially Eucharist, we have become that fertile soil in which God’s Word – His Eternal Truth – has been planted. We become the instrument through which God wishes to reach out to others; we become that seed which is to go forth and bear good fruit in His Most Holy Name.
For if, in Jesus’ Name, we find ourselves continuing to hunger for His Word in our lives who have received much, then how much more do those, who have been given less or have lost all they have, hunger to feel God’s compassionate and loving Presence in their lives?!
If we open ourselves to possibilities, we can find ourselves becoming fruitful in our endeavors to help others, even if those endeavors are just small things, as long as what we do is with a good and loving heart, an opened heart to God’s Word.
Let us pray that our Lord may help us to open our eyes to His Divine will. Let us pray that our Lord may help us to open our ears to the sound of His call in our lives, so that we may become that rich and fertile soil in which His seed, His words of Divine Truth, may take firm root and produce much fruit in our individual walks of faith, especially for all those whom our lives touch through the providential hand of Almighty God.
For, as our Lord tells us today, “Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “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.” (Matthew 13:16-17)
- “Hear then the parable of the sower…the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word [of God] and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” (Matthew 13:18, 23)
- “…so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
- “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.” (Matthew 13:12)
- “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 heart and be converted, and I heal them.’” (Matthew 13:14-15)
- “We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves…” (Romans 8:22-23a)
- “Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4)
- “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)
- “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
- “Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Matthew:13:9)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your Love.
May I see each circumstance in my life
as an opportunity to grow in Your Mercy.
May I see my environment
as a place to grow in Your Peace.
“When I am tempted to become impatient,
help me to be patient.
“When I am tempted to become unkind,
help me to be kind.
“When I am tempted to become jealous,
help me to be tolerant.
“When I am tempted to become boastful or proud,
help me give You the glory.
“When I am tempted to be rude or selfish,
give me the gift of gentleness.
“When I am tempted to take offense,
help me to let go.
“When I am tempted to become angry with someone,
give me the gift of forgiveness.
“When I am tempted to become resentful,
give me Your power to love.
“All gifts and all charisms come from You.Anonymous
All will one day come to an end,
with one important exception, the gift of Your Love!
Help me to always love others as You love me. Amen.”