Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary time – Year A

by Fr N. Vilakati

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You are nor rock, nor hard surface, but “The fertile ground where the seed that has fallen has yielded a fruitful harvest”.

Many people are so much of pessimist, about life, about love and other pertinent issues affecting their lives. This 15th Sunday in ordinary time, let us look at things on a positive perspective about the self, others and God. Looking at the parable of the sower today, we could jump to the conclusion that only a negligent or wasteful farmer would sow seeds where obstacles to growth are so many. We could be tempted to say, by sheer luck or unexpectedly good weather could assist the farm to be profitable in the end. On the contrary we see that Jesus’ message is that God’s reign is at hand. The point of the parable is that the farmer has not wasted his seed in you, just as much as God never gives up on you.

This parable today brings about the stories and images of everyday life so as to convey hidden truths about the kingdom of God. Jesus as a skilful artist, sketches a memorable picture that speaks more loudly and clearly than many words. Jesus uses the ordinary everyday illustrations of life and nature to point to another order of reality which is hidden, yet visible to those who had “eyes to see” and “ears to hear”. Jesus communicates to us with vivid illustrations that which captures the imagination more powerfully than any abstract presentation could. He reminds us of God’s word that “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

Our duty then is to listen to God’s word. The parable of the sower is aimed at the hearers of His word. In other words there are many dispositions on which we usually hear His word. There are different ways of accepting God’s word and they produce different kinds of fruit accordingly. There is the prejudiced hearer who has a shut mind. Not willing to be convinced by anyone. His way or the highway. Such a person is unteachable and blind to what he or she doesn’t want to hear. Then there is the shallow hearer. This one fails to think things out or think them through; that is he/she lacks depth. He/she may initially respond with an emotional reaction; but when it wears off the mind wanders to something else. Another type of hearer is the person who has many interests but lacks the ability to comprehend what is truly important. Such a person is too busy to pray or too preoccupied to study and meditate on God’s word. Then there is the one whose mind is open. Such a person is at all times willing to listen and to learn. He or she is never too proud or too busy to learn. They listen in order to understand. God gives grace to those who hunger for his word that they may understand his will and have the strength to live according to it.

And so to those who deliberately refuse to believe and understand, are like those who were adversaries of our Lord. The Lord spoke from experience. He was aware that some like the pharisees who heard his parables refused to understand them. It was not that they could not intellectually understand them, but rather, their hearts were closed to what Jesus was saying. They had already made up their minds to not believe. God can only reveal the secrets of His kingdom which is hidden to the spiritually blind to those who hunger for God and humbly submit to His truth. And so our preoccupation with other things distract us from what is truly important and worthwhile. By letting our hearts and minds be consumed with material things we can easily weigh down and draw away from the heavenly treasure that lasts for eternity. God’s word can only take root in a receptive heart which is docile and ready to hear what God has to say.

These Sunday readings challenges us to have a healthy root system. They enlighten us to approach God’s word in a humble way so it can take root in our receptive hearts, and readied to believe. The call for a total immersion and submission to God’s word with trust and obedience. They remind us as the prophet Isaiah has explained it in the first reading “the rain and snow come down, and do not return there, till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it”

We pray this Sunday in a special way for you; that you who eat this One Bread, One Body, and pray and study God’s written Word every day may be among the most spiritually fruitful people in the world. I seek God’s blessing upon you, that you become good ground fully receptive to the seed of God’s Word. In a special way I pray as I know most of us are good ground with thorns. Many of us Christians have received the seed of God’s Word and are deep in faith; so the Word can be deeply rooted in us. Nevertheless, this good ground seems fruitless because of the thorns of “worldly anxiety and the lure of money” which chokes God’s Word in our very being. We who read the Scriptures can do so much for the world. Our potential for bearing good fruit is astounding, but we must be very careful not to grow thorns. Hence I do believe that “You are nor rock, nor hard surface, but “The fertile ground where the seed that has fallen has yielded a fruitful harvest”.