Homily for Sunday, 10 July 2011
15th Sunday: Is 55:10-11. Rm 8:18-23. Mt 13:1-23.
This Sunday Jesus tells the parable of the sower. The seed gets sown in different ways. It represents how God's Word may take root in us and bear fruit - or it may not if we don't let it.
Will we let it take root? Is it sown in you among 'the thorns' of selfishness or pride? God wants to teach us how to live and to love, but that's much more than a simple list of instructions 'one to fifty'! It's referring to a profound change of heart - of how we 'cultivate' our lives - or rather: how we let God cultivate our lives through his Word. The gospel begins this Sunday describing how Jesus went outside his house and stood in a boat so that a big crowd could hear him and that speaks of how Christ is willing to put in much effort in order to guide us to Eternal Life. But do we spend some time in our day meditating the Word of God (Christ)? ...and applying it to our own lives on earth? Do we appreciate the way He accepted the pain and the shame of condemnation by his own people? Do we appreciate how that ends in a tremendous victory (resurrection). Love is stronger than death! Do we love in the way He teaches us? That's important because we never know how much time we're going to have on earth!
So it's the seed that falls on rich soil that represents how God wants his Word to be received by us. The fact that the Apostles asked for an explanation, is teaching us to be people who don't listen superficially, but who want to deepen in the meaning of the Word. To be a proud mundane 'know-all' is precisely what we should avoid. We should realize humbly that we need God to teach us many things. That's a call to prayer. Prayer isn't just about reciting things to God, but about paying attention to what God is communicating to us. Prayer is about meditating his Word and giving it time to stimulate thoughts in us. It will stimulate a lot. The Trinity keep trying to reveal more and more to us, but they won't knock us on the head with information. They wait for us to open up and seek and welcome what they want to reveal.
So let's receive the seed well. 'The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy, but he has no root and lasts only for a short time. When some challenge or tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away' (Mt 13:20-21). Fortunately, many of our ancestors remained faithful in spite of persecutions - and the Good News of Christ reached us. I'm not being persecuted as such, but this bloody M.S. isn't exactly a house of fun, and also my own pride and selfishness persecute me! Problems and challengs come everyone's way at some stage. But Christ can win over that. St Paul begins the second reading today saying: 'I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us '.
So let's thank God this weekend ('celebrate Eucharist') - for the way that somehow, the seed of faith was sown in us, and it keeps being sown. But let's spring roots and let it grow - get rid of 'thorns' and 'rocks' - and spring roots. Then, somehow, we'll help to sow seeds of the Good News in others also!