Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 12, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

 

Book of the Prophet Isaiah

Psalm 65

Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans

Matthew 13:1-23

 

Imagine the day Jesus taught the “Parable of the Sower.”  We all know that the people were accustomed to Jesus teaching in parables about the kingdom of God.  Our Lord used images and characters taken from everyday life to create a miniature play or drama” in order to illustrate His message.  His stories appealed to the young and old, poor and rich, and to the learned and unlearned as well.  These word-pictures challenged the mind to discover what God is like and moved one’s heart to make a response to God’s love and truth.  Today, I ask you to place yourself on the shoreline as Jesus teaches from the boat.  Everyone knew that some seed always fails and that some seed produces a good crop.  But what did Jesus actually mean by telling the people the “Parable of the sower?”

Jesus was “sowing seed” when teaching about the Kingdom of God.  Some people took His message to heart and produced fruit.  Others didn’t take His message to heart at all and, well, produced no fruit.  Still others took His message to heart for only a short while and then gave up and so produced only a little fruit.  This even happened to His disciples.  Judas betrayed Jesus and then took his own life.  We would expect much more from someone who had been personally taught by Jesus for three years and had shared Jesus’ company.  Not all of the seed that Jesus sowed bore fruit as it should have or as we would expect.

The same could happen within a family.  My example is the Borromeo family of northern Italy.  Carlo, whom we know as Charles or Saint Charles Borromeo, became a bishop in the Catholic Church.  Carlo’s twin brother, Antonio, became the head of a crime family in northern Italy.  Why then do some produce fruit for the kingdom and others apparently do not?  Does it depend on whether we take Jesus and His message seriously, or not?  I believe this is an excellent question to ponder.

What is this fruit anyhow?  In Galatians 5:22, Paul says, “The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  These are the fruits of the Spirit that we learned as we prepared for the Sacrament of Confirmation.  Think of how beautiful our world would be if we all produced these fruits 100% of the time.  Sounds like we would have heaven on earth, doesn’t it?

Our Lord Jesus had a plan for our world, that we would form a new society where these fruits would be practiced by everyone.  Unfortunately that new society has not yet come into existence because none of us is producing those fruits 100% all the time.  But why is that?     

Jesus gives us the answer:

  • Some people allow the devil to take the words and teaching of Christ from their hearts. This is the first group of people who receive the seed on the edge of the path.  They hear the Word of God but don’t believe its promises.  They have heard the teaching of Jesus but don’t take it seriously.  They are the people who forget the true meaning of life, who live as if God doesn’t exist, the people who forget that in this life we are only passing through. 
  • The second group who do not produce 100% fruit are those who fall away when some major trial comes into their lives. These people are like the seed sown on patches of rock, they spring up straight away but have no roots and give up following Jesus when times are difficult.  When the culture of the world is different from the new society Jesus wants to establish they are afraid to take their stand for Jesus and so, of course, no fruit is produced. 
  • The third group Jesus lists are those who allow the worries of the world or the lure of riches to choke His message in us. These people are like the seed that fell among the thorns and the thorns that choked Jesus’ message are the worries of the world and the lure of its riches.  Again, no fruit is produced!
  • The fourth and final group Jesus lists are those who produce fruit from His message. They are the ones who received the seed in rich soil and yielded a harvest, as we heard, “a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”  They are the ones who could see what hope God’s call held for them, and what rich glories the saints are promised to inherit.

Sisters and brothers, the seed is the Word of God.  Our hearts are the soil.  Jesus has the sower’s determination and trust.  Could it be that He wants to send us to be sharers of the Word with the same determination and trust? 

We can sow boldly.  Every heart has rich soil, ready for the Word.

Question of the Day: Will you pray to live generously the fruitful life in all its forms, from earliest beginning to latest endings? 

Prayer:  May God the Father enlighten the eyes of our mind so that we can see what hope His call holds for us, so that we may receive the Word of God in rich soil and yield a harvest, now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty in love, joy, peace, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Amen.

Please continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who are affected by this unprecedented pandemic as well as for peace in our country and in our world.

Prosit

 

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