15th Sunday in ordinary time

Let the seed of Faith grow
 
Readings: Is 55, 10-11; Ps 65, 10-11.12-14; Rm 8, 18-2; Mt 13, 1-23
 
The 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time A invites us to clear the rocks and weeds in our hearts which often become obstacles to the process of growth intended by the sower.  The word of God we regularly hear is being sown in hearts in order to transform them. God is waiting for the fruits because His seed is not wasted.
 
Generosity and extravagancy of the sower
 In the parable of the sower in today’s gospel, we notice that the sower doesn’t consider the nature of the soil. He does the sowing generously and extravagantly. He seems to trust that all soil types are suitable for the seed. Jesus explains the meaning of the parable to those He considers blessed: “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” Those who encounter Christ live the reality of the Kingdom of God. Jesus used parables to refer to this Kingdom. When the prophet Isaiah (first reading) speaks about the intention of God’s word, we should turn to Jesus and see for ourselves what God is accomplishing. Jesus is God’s eternal Word which has become flesh and dwells among us (see John 1, 14). We could put the mystery of incarnation simply by saying that God has sowed the Christ-seed into the world in order to transform it. With this a seed of faith has been sowed and the sower is waiting for fruits. The word which goes forth from His mouth shall not return empty. We are the soil constantly receiving this word. God wants to convert us to His Kingdom and its values.
 
Four seeds, one sower, four soils
Jesus speaks about four responses given to the generosity of the sower (God). The seed that fell on the path stands for those who lack the necessary disposition for a true life of conversion. The devil finds it easy to snatch the seed from a fickle heart. The seed that fell on rocky ground stands for those who are quick to profess the faith in the Lord but in truth have no roots. Here we see all forms of spiritual superficiality. The third seed that fell among thorns stands for those who are choked by the cares, prestige, power and riches according to the logic of the world. These fail to give God the precedence in life. The fourth seed that fell on good soil stands for those who hear the word of God, understand it and live according to the values it proposes. The word penetrates their entire being and molds it into total commitment to the Kingdom values. We all have a bit of the four types of soil. We ought to check all that is in us blocking or chocking the seed of faith in us.
 
Obstacles to spiritual growth
With a realistic self-examination, each one of us will be able to identify the rocks and at times the weeds that hinder our spiritual growth. For some of us it may be the distorted image of God that we carry in us. Instead of approaching God as a loving Father, we may be dealing with a fierce tyranny from whom we must hide. Jesus brings us a new image of a God who loves us unconditionally. Currently the whole world is being choked by a thorn known as the Covid-19 Pandemic. The being rooted in faith helps us to look only to God who can show us a lasting solution. For others past life experiences full of disappointments, hurts and failures may be the obstacle. Jesus invites us to believe in the power of forgiveness and healing. We ought to let go of our past in order to embrace the newness that Jesus brings. Our attachment to the world and the values it proposed is another obstacle. The evangelist John makes us aware of the fact that God’s Word (Christ) came into the world among his own but people did not accept him (John 1, 9-11). But to those who accepted him in faith he gave power to become children of God. The kingdom of God faces a lot of resistance from the worldly superficiality and indifference. We must admit that we (Christians) are not immune to these. We ought to check our disposition and attitude in receiving God’s word which constantly calls us to conversion. The good news is that the sower never gives us up. He is patiently waiting for our transformation from stony and infertile soil to the fertile soil that nurtures the seed of faith leading to an abundant harvest. God wants to remove the hearts of stone from us and give us hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36, 26) that are ready to receive his word.
 
Grow and produce good fruits
God who has sowed the seed of faith in our hearts is very patient. He gives us enough time to develop strong roots. He accompanies the process of growth. Ps 65 speaks about God preparing and blessing the land and softening it with showers. Here we can speak of the sacraments in the Church which enable us to encounter Christ nourishing, teaching and pruning us so that we can bear good fruits. Sometimes the process may be demanding but St. Paul tells us in today’s second reading that the sufferings of this present time can’t be compared with the glory that is to be revealed for us and the entire creation (Rom 8, 18). Whereas we let God do the nourishing, our duty is to keep on growing. We already have the first fruits of the Spirit but the journey of growth we are making will see us produce a yield of more love and compassion, more honesty and simpler lifestyles, more sensitivity to the poorest and most abandoned and more concern to the common good. Before the coming of the genetically modified crops, the fruits of the current season provided seed for the following season. Resistant to the modification and manipulation of the world we are to participate in the sowing especially of compassion, truth and solidarity. This is what we owe to the world as Christians. The word that comes out of God’s mouth brings about positive change and transformation. It is a word that constructs. As co-sowers we ought to ask ourselves about the kind of words that come out of our mouths. Do they build others up? Are they true or are we just gossiping? Do our words contribute towards unity or do they sow division? Let us mind the kind of words that are going to be used especially during the campaigns for different leadership positions!
 
 

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