15th Sunday of the Ordinary Time. 10.07.2020
It is 12th July 2020. The readings are from Isaiah 55:10-11; the second reading is from Romans 8:18-23; and the Gospel from Matthew 13:1-23. Dear People of God,
Our generous receptivity to the Word of God allows us to be fruitful. We all go through these four-spiritual journeys of human life such as the wayside, the rocky ground, the thorny ground, and the rich soil. The sower is God. The seed is grace. The Word of God is compared with the seed. The purpose of the Word of God is to bring change and growth in each one of us. We all can make a difference when we respond to the Word of God generously.
Repeated award-winner farmer who used to distribute the best seed corn to his neighboring farmers was asked by an interviewer: how could he distribute the best seed corn that is priceless and the secret of his success? His reply was amazing and thought-provoking. He said, “The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will affect the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”
In the first reading, we are taught that the Word of God accomplishes the purpose for which it comes into our lives. The passage brings out the untiring endeavors of the divine sower and the unfailing power of the Word of God. God does not discriminate in planting. Jesus, the Word of the Father, accomplishes the salvific plan of God for which He was sent. (Jn.1:14). God loves fruitfulness.
Abraham became the father of faith by listening and responding to the Word of God. (Gen.17:25)
David repented after listening to God’s Word. (2 Sam.12:13).
Mary became the Mother of God by her unconditional YES. (Luke 1:38).
Zacchaeus was converted after accepting the Word of Jesus. (Lk.19:8).
What about us? What does the Word of God do to us when we listen, learn, and let in?
God’s grace and mercy is for all of us. When our willingness, openness, collaboration and gratitude, mingle with the Word of God, we bring out the person and the image God desires in our lives. In our personal life, in our families, and in our community, there are so many resources available daily for listening and assimilating the Word of God?
Every seed goes through an enormous struggle to root, fruit, and re-root. The people of Israel are like the seeds during their captivity, they had fallen, were buried, trodden upon and chocked but when they reached the Promised land, they were able to bear much fruit to the proportion of their cooperation and response.
In the second reading, St. Paul urges us to go through pain and inconveniences to bring the best out of ourselves. “The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18). Without adequate formation, there is no transformation in us. He records that the struggles of the seed will not go in vain. The growth of the seed is incomparable with the pain and inconveniences the seed had to go through. The longing to be the best of ourselves comes when we are willing to wean out from our false attachments of our stubbornness and refusal to listen. The Gospel parable is about the seed and the soil. The kind of heart and our disposition makes us see effectively. Jesus speaks about four kinds of soil.
There are so many kinds of listeners we encounter in the process of learning and healing. The Word of God highlights four kinds of listeners found in our spiritual life. One that is rich and collaborative to the seed that is fruitful and rewarding; the rest must go through a drastic change to allow the seed to produce its potency.
As there are four seasons, so there are four mindsets in each one of us. These four spiritual conditions are found in each one of us. Whatever the condition and preparedness, God is not tired of sowing the seed through the Word of God. Despite all challenging conditions, the Word of God will bear its fruit.
The four kinds of listeners are the Rootless listener, the Restless listener, the Reckless listener, and the Rewarding listener. The parable is divided in three parts: the parable (Mt.13:18-23); the purpose (Mt.13:10-17) and the interpretation (Mt.13:18-23). Every parable is a story. Who am I in the parable? Every seed has a story and a history. Jesus reached the hearts of the people with ordinary things like salt, light, a mountain, a city, a treasure, a net and a seed with which they are familiar with daily.
The early Christians were hesitant to receive the Word of God because of their attachment with the pleasure, evil, doubts, wealth, and Satan. The sower and the seed are one, yet the land and its conditions are different and challenging. The vulnerable ground that refuse to guard and protect the growth of the seed. Lack of faith and understanding leads us to lose the seeds. Initial enthusiasm and growth die quickly when faced with challenges. Worldly worries and distractions chock the growth of the seeds. Functional and productive environment brings forth the desired and dreamed harvest.
Rootless listeners are those like the Path. The ground might be good, but it is hard and eventually seeds do not grow. They do not comprehend the Word of God. They listen peripherally with prejudice not allowing the Word to sink and settle in themselves. A casual reader with a closed heart and without a deep reflection of the Word. Pride and fear never provide the conditions to be docile and to listen. Our inappropriate attachments, immoral behavior, attitude, and lifestyle chock the seed so that it does not germinate at all. The wayside people are like those who come to church but allow their minds to wander, chatting going on inside the mind, bodies are inside the church, but the spirit is roaming elsewhere. They block the word of God like King Herod, and the Pharisees.
Restless Listeners are like the rocky ground. Their hearts are hardened. (Ps.95:7,8). They look for a better pasture, and something new always. They are unprincipled and inconsistent those who roam around looking for something from others. Whatever is trending being their talk of the day and they end up dropping the project before they begin. They are Enthusiastic without commitment. Some dynamic preachers show miracles and not allowing the seed of faith to germinate in them.
The reckless listeners are like the thorny ground. They allow many things in their lives. They watch and wait to see the seed and weed grow together. No time for personal weeding and conversion. God is not their priority. Worrying about too many things and focusing on none. They are always in a hurry to listen, reflect and to pray. They give importance to overall growth leaving the details and productive growth.
The Rewarding Listeners are like the rich soil. They are ready to be planted because of their preparedness. Abundance of flourishing are sure to happen in this soil with this type of condition. They are open, interested, humble, and willing to change to have the remarkable outcome desired by God. They plough beyond the emotional surface to connect with spiritual space. They take time to assimilate, understand, and are ready to serve and regular in connecting with the giver of the seed. God wants to see such soil in each one of us to provide the Word to open the grace of God to bear abundant fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. To preserve we need to promote.
God and Christ can make us fruitful and rewarding when we appreciate our worth as the children of God.
Do we create an atmosphere and condition for the Word of God to root and transform in our lives? How open, welcoming, and nourishing are we in receiving God’s Word? Mary said: “Let it be with me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38).
Where are we in our spiritual life? Rootless listener, or Restless listener, or Reckless listener, or Rewarding listener? May God bless each one of you who are listening to the Word of God to be rich and fruitful in your lives.