15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 2 / (Green)
Ps 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14
The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
1st Reading: Is 55:10-11
As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return
till they have watered the earth, making it yield seed for the sower
and food for others to eat, so is my word that goes forth out of my mouth:
it will not return to me idle, but it shall accomplish my will,
the purpose for which it has been sent.
2nd Reading: Rom 8:18-23
I consider, that the suffering of our present life cannot be compared with the glory that will be revealed, and given to us. All creation is eagerly expecting the birth, in glory, of the children of God. For, if now, the created world was unable to attain its purpose, this did not come from itself, but from the one who subjected it. But it is not without hope; for even the created world, will be freed from this fate of death, and share the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know, that the whole creation groans and suffers the pangs of birth. Not creation alone, but even ourselves; although the Spirit was given to us, as a foretaste of what we are to receive, we groan in our innermost being, eagerly awaiting the day, when God will give us full rights, and rescue our bodies as well.
Gospel: Mt 13:1-23 (or Mt 13:1-9)
That same day, Jesus left the house and sat down by the lakeside. Many people gathered around him. So he got into a boat, and sat down, while the crowds stood on the shore; and he spoke to them in parables about many things.
Jesus said, “The sower went out to sow; and, as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path; and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil, and the seeds sprouted quickly, because the soil was not deep. But as soon as the sun rose, the plants were scorched; and they withered, because they had no roots. Again, other seeds fell among thistles; and the thistles grew and choked the plants. Still, other seeds fell on good soil and produced a crop: some a hundredfold, others sixty, and others thirty. If you have ears, then hear!“
Then his disciples came to him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?“
Jesus answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but not to these people. For the one who has will be given more; and he will have in abundance. But the one who does not have will be deprived of even what he has. That is why I speak to them in parables; because they look and do not see; they hear; but they do not listen or understand.
In them, the words of the prophet Isaiah are fulfilled: However much you hear, you do not understand; however much you see, you do not perceive.
For the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears hardly hear and their eyes dare not see. If they were to see with their eyes, hear with their ears and understand with their heart, they would turn back, and I would heal them.
But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.
For I tell you, many prophets and righteous people have longed to see the things you see, but they did not see them; and to hear the things you hear, but they did not hear them.
Now listen to the parable of the sower.
When a person hears the message of the kingdom, but does not take it seriously, the devil comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed that fell along the footpath.
The seed that fell on rocky ground stands for the one who hears the word, and accepts it at once with joy. But such a person has no roots, and endures only for a while. No sooner is he harassed or persecuted because of the word, than he gives up.
The seed that fell among the thistles is the one who hears the word; but then, the worries of this life and the love of money choke the word; and it does not bear fruit.
As for the seed that fell on good soil, it is the one who hears the word and understands it; this seed bears fruit and produces a hundred, or sixty, or thirty times more.“
Read: God’s Word will bear fruit, in season and out of season. We, along with the entire creation, must trust in God’s promises of redemption and new life, which will be given in the fullness of time. Jesus gives the parable of the sower who reaps thirty, sixty, and hundredfold.
Reflect: If God’s word never returns without realizing its purpose and produces in unimaginable quantities of thirties, sixties, and hundreds, why does it seemingly fail on the path and the rock and amidst the thistle? Perhaps what is needed is our cooperation with the Grace that is poured into us. Perhaps the seeds are still there waiting to sprout, but for our generous consent and cooperation. What might be preventing us from a total surrender to the word?
Pray: Let us pray for the grace of complete surrender to God’s will.
Act: Read a brief biography of a saint and reflect on how she/he let God’s word work in her/him.
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Biblical Texts are taken from Christian Community Bible, Catholic Pastoral Edition (57th Edition) The New English Translation for the ROMAN MISSAL
With permission from the EPISCOPAL COMMISION ON LITURGY of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
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