15th Sunday of Ordinary Time ~ 12 July 2020 ~ The Parable of the Sower

Mass Readings: I: Is. 55:10-11; Responsorial: Ps. 65; II: Rom. 8:18-23; Gospel: Mt. 13: 1-23

This 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time in the Year of Our Lord, 2020 is, in many ways far from ordinary. There are frequent discussions on what is the “new normal”, the new ordinary. As we share this gift to gather and celebrate the Mass we realize that with the challenges of the Covid pandemic this gift may again be curtailed for a season. As we navigate the vicious storms of politics and social violence we experience the many powerful and often toxic seeds of discord, strife, hate, fear and doubt. So we read God’s Word today and wonder…

What is the Seed of God’s Word about?

What does Jesus want to plant and grow in the soil of my soul?

The reading from the Gospel of Matthew shares the well known parable of the Sower. In this lesson Jesus speaks to hearts explaining the types of soil in which His Word is sown. He makes clear our free will to chose how the soil of our soul will be for His Word. If we better realize the gift of His Word in our lives we may better allow for our hearts, our souls, our soil to be ready for His Word.

But before we examine this holy seed of Scripture it is important to realize the peril we face with the invasive weeds of the world. Discerning listening to the messages, and especially the fruits, of the words of the world soon reveal their worth. Many varieties of worldly words abound but they all share common traits. Words of anger, hate, judging, fear, doubt and discord are flying through the air in abundance. As another parable of Jesus taught, the powers of hell seek to sow the invasive thistles weeds that would, if allowed , crowd out God’s intent. And we must realize these seeds of destruction are much in the world but they also can be found in our families, our church and in our hearts. May we seek the gardeners of heaven to help us to be ready for God’s Seed!

The Seed of God’s Word is eternally distinctive in many traits. As we look to the beauty of creation we start to realize that God plants an unending array of beauty in the diverse places of life. From fertile meadows to towering forests, to desert drylands or sea side dunes God has the seeds of life suited for each holy place. And so it is for our souls. God has seeds of His promise and purpose for the place we are in life. Yet for each place there are common graces.

The Seed of God’s Word contains infinite blessings. But there are four that are always so needed.

First the Living Word, Jesus, the LOGOS, is The Truth. In heeding the voice of O our Lord in Scripture we allow His Presence, His Truth to be sown and planted in our hearts. And like all good seed, in His time and will, the power, the beautiful veracity who is God will grow. The Scriptures are essential if, as His followers, we are to grow in the Truth that sets us free. Jesus in holy love will plant within us, perhaps in what seems impossible places or ways those seeds in which we can become free to be who He calls us to be.

Secondly this holy voice of God, whispered in the verses of Scripture will cleanse. It is in the light of God’s Word we realize our need for cleansing… for conversion. As a seed, buried deep in the soil sprouts it, by God designed grace, seeks the light essential to cleanse away the hard darkness that would prevent life from growing. And in the nail-scarred hands of the Gardener we too will know the cleansing power of His Word that brings us to seek His light. In the beauty of holiness we see the both the deadly sludge of sin and doubt and turn our hearts to seek, to see who is life itself.

Next we experience, from the seed of God’s Word that as we grow in His Truth, as we take root in His cleansing graces, we come to grow eternally alive. No matter the size the seeds of grace they will accomplish the purposes of God as we allow His work in our soul. Our first reading from the Prophet Isaiah affirms that the Word of God that goes forth will not return to Him empty but accomplish His plan, His purpose. Regardless of length of time, drought, fire, storm wounds it will grow to be what God intends. And it will be seen that it is those battles that the real strength and beauty Jesus planned will develop.

This brings us to a fourth and concluding grace as we look at the seed of God’s Word. When God’s promises are planted and sprout, as they grow, taking root we experience a gift God never wants us to be without, the gift of Hope. God knows the places we may encounter in life may not always be easy. But with His Word, in which we are called to abide, we grow in hope. The gnarled beauty of the Bristle Cone Pine grows, slowly, persistently in some of the harshest environments on earth. Void of much water, with little rich soil. These seeds grow through the harsh temperatures, the ceaseless winds to now be recognized as the longest living things on earth. They teach us the power of hope from the Seeds of God’s Word.

As we reflect on the Words of Jesus in the Parable of the Sower may we take to heart the infinite power and worth of those holy seeds He longs to plant in our lives. May we grow, deeply rooted and abundant in He who brings us Truth, Cleansing, Life and Hope.