Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Introduction 

My Dad’s hearing is starting to fail. My vision has gotten to the point where I need two kinds of lenses in my glasses. Our senses have a built-in obsolescence that we ignore till they balk and we find out there’s no warranty.

Seeing and hearing are gifts not to be taken for granted, but understanding with the heart is greater still. Jesus never blames a blind man for blindness, nor a deaf person for not responding. But he does have a lot to say about people who walk wide-eyed into episodes of sin. Jesus is blunt with religious people who refuse to change their hearts. They (we!) enjoy the advantage of having God’s word sown like seed in our soil, and yet nothing is cultivated and nothing grows. No plot of ground is responsible for its barrenness if the seed never arrives there. But woe to the ground that’s planted and yields dust! Far better to stop going to church and stop calling ourselves Christian, then to adopt the name and go on, deaf and blind to Jesus.

How do you prepare the soil of your life for the word of God to take root in you?

Make a commitment to God’s word. Get a readable Bible – it may not be the big leather one in the family room. Spend a few minutes a day, on one passage or even one verse. Make a commitment reasonable enough to see it through.

The Scripture (Matthew 13: 3-9) The Parable of the Sower

Jesus said to the crowd, ‘What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and the birds ate it. Some of it fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on the good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams. Are you listening to this? Really listening?’

The Reflection

The great work of family life is to create that fertile soil that Jesus describes in this Gospel. The four types of soil teach us about the four important factors that make our homes a place where faith will grow. First we need to plant deep. That means regular attendance at Sunday Mass and the sacraments, praying as a family and being active in your parish. Then, it’s time to get rid of those rocks and thorns: This could mean saying good-bye to some bad influences such as friends, games, movies, television time, alcohol, drugs or anything that creates a rocky home life. Next, we encourage deep root growth by good communication, establishing boundaries with family rules, spouses taking time out for intimacy and date nights and spending time together with the whole family enjoying each other and making memories. Families with strong faith work at it all the time. Your family needs to be watered with prayer whenever the soil dries out from stress and outside pressure, illness or financial crisis. A good parable is timeless. This one still speaks to us.

The Commissioning

God’s generosity, given freely, given abundantly, amazes us.
We will be ready to befriend the lonely. We will be ready to help the downhearted. We will take time to listen and understand. We will proclaim the faith with boldness and with sensitivity. We will act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

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