16 July, 2017: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Word as a Seed
Readings: Is 55:10-11; Ps 65; Rom 8: 18-23;
Mt 13:1-23 or 13: 1-9
Mt 11:25-30 or 13: 1-9
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.”
In no other instance does Jesus take such great pain to explain a parable than in this one. Too often this parable has been used to emphasize what happens to the seed -- carried away by the devil, dying from a lack of roots, choked by the cares and wealth and pleasures of this life. How often have we considered the lavishness and generosity of God - throwing the seed in every direction? Jesus' explanation clearly shifts the accent from the seed (the word), which was the focus of the parable, to the person who hears it (the soil). In so doing, it brings to the fore God's extravagant generosity with the word.
Whatever is God's design in giving the Gospel, it shall be accomplished. It is never spoken in vain, and never fails to produce the effect that he intends. Though it may seem that the Gospel often falls on barren rocks, or on arid sands; on extended plains where no vegetation is produced, or in the wilderness "where no human is," and seems to our eyes in vain, we know that this is not so. The words of the Gospel often fall on hard and barren human hearts.
The message of Jesus is addressed to the proud, the senseless, the avaricious, and the unbelieving, and seems to be spoken in vain, and to return void unto God. But it is not so. He has some design in it, and that will be accomplished. It is proof of the fullness of his mercy. It leaves people without excuse, and justifies himself. Or when presented apparently in vain - it ultimately becomes successful, and sinners are at last brought to abandon their sins, and to turn unto God. From: Biblical Reflection for 15th Sun day in Ordinary Time A by Father Thomas Rosica, CSB