15 and 16 July 2017 Fifteenth Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily
My sisters and brothers in Christ.
Today the scriptures speak of the special “word” that is the “word of God”.
The LORD today refers to the special “word” as “my word” that comes down like the rain and does “not return to me void. The “word” will do the LORD’S will and achieves the end for which the LORD sends it.”
The “word” in John’s Gospel becomes “flesh” in Jesús and goes about accomplishing the “end” or “purpose” for which Jesús was sent into the world.
The psalm response today anticipates the message of the Gospel.
“The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.”
The Gospel today helps the disciples understand why many people “hear” the Gospel message but do not understand or accept it.
It is helpful to remember that Matthew is speaking to a Judean community that has for all practical purposes been excluded from the Temple and the synagogues.
Believing in Christ was not a belief shared by many of Judeans who heard the Gospel message.
The believers in Christ needed to understand the persecutions and the various people who did not continue to believe the Gospel message.
Jesús speaks of different types of soil as a metaphor, comparison or parable about people’s ability to accept, commit to and remain faithful to the Gospel message of Jesús.
The message of the kingdom in today’s Gospel is represented by the “seed” that the sower spreads about.
The types of soil that receive the “seed” are the:
Soil on the path,
Soil in rocky ground,
Soil that has thorns and finally
The reasons for the “seed” not taking root are the following:
Lack of understanding so that the evil one steals the seed,
Superficial acceptance of the seed which cannot endure persecution,
Worldly anxiety and the lure of riches “choke” the seed.
The “rich soil” is productive because the “word” is understood and taken to heart.
A Palestinian farmer would be satisfied with a yield of seven or eighth but this parable promises thirty or sixty or a hundred fold return.
Paul, in the Letter to the Romans today speaks of the “sufferings of this present time.”
“Suffering” may be described as “anything or any occasion that causes me to feel I am not in control.”
Suffering may be physical, emotional, spiritual, relational.
The “sufferings of the present time” Paul tells us are “as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed to us.”
Suffering then appears to be a part of the human condition. Suffering may be in fact that fertilizer that makes that “rich soil” that receives the “seed” or “word” and is able to produce yields of “thirty, sixty and one hundred fold.”
Suffering, Paul goes on to say, is not just a human experience.
“We know that “all creation” is groaning in labor pains even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves,”
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”
“The adoption” and “the redemption of our bodies” refer to “the glory to be revealed to us” that Paul mentioned earlier.
My sisters and brothers we are invited today,
understand and live the mystery of joining our suffering and
our self giving to the suffering and self giving of Christ.
We are privileged, fortunate and blessed to have this opportunity to enter into the “groaning of all creation” as we, even now share, in the glory that will be ours.
Jesús, with good reason says to us today:
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.