Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Jesus said to his disciples: “Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. 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 time…The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it…”
The seed in us. Christ is the sower and the seed is the Word of God. The Lord throws himself and His Word in every direction (Jews and pagans) and to everyone (the good, the bad and the ugly). Most receive them joyfully, with an open heart and mind, while others, with selfishness and a sense of self-entitlement. The rest receive them skeptically, judgmentally and with hostility.
Those who have ears ought to hear. Those who have eyes have seen this with their very own eyes.
But there is more to this parable than meets the eye and ear.
Are we, His followers, not like the Lord and thrown in every direction and to everyone? Of course we are. Like every good seed, we have our Father in us.
We have Him in us. We are His seeds! We all have the potential to be sons and daughters of God. After all, we were created in His image and likeness. This means a lot. It means we can be just like Him. I can forgive. I have it in me. I can love my enemies. I have Him in me. I can be more loving, forgiving and giving. Why? Because I have it in me. All I need to do is allow it to grow. All I need to do is take care of it: to water it (Baptism), to feed it (The Eucharist), and later, to prune it (Confession).
We all have Him in us, and He has sent us in every direction and to everyone so that we can share Him. This is not survival of the fittest. It is not a competition. It is cooperation. And all “creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God” (cf. Rm 8:18-23).
Remember the Lord’s final words to His disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mk 16:15).
The Lord has thrown us everywhere. He sent His early followers everywhere and to everyone, to the barbarians and to the civilized; to the English and to the Greeks and Romans. He sent His seed to where the land was rich and fertile, rocky and stubborn, hostile and bitter. He planted His seeds in Rome, England and Ireland.
We are the ground. Not only are we Christ’s seeds, we are also His rich soil. Life is all about giving and receiving. Seeds alone do not suffice for living life well. We need a place to rest and to grow. We need fertile ground.
Christians are called to be seeds and soil. Like God, we must give and receive. We must take and give back.
Children need a place to grow. The home and the Church are ideal for children to grow spiritually, physically and emotionally strong. Will they receive the sacraments? Will they be taught how to pray? Will their parents share with them their faith? Will their lives be immersed in soft and fertile soil or will they be subjected to thorns and thistles that will choke the life of God in them?
Teenagers need a place to grow. Again, the home and the Church are ideal places for them to grow. Will they be understood and shown unconditional love? Will the people who love them the most fight for them the most? Or will the weeds (like drugs, alcohol, and some nasty boyfriends/girlfriends) come and separate them from the love of their parents (or choke them from the love of God)?
The elderly need a place to grow. Will they be loved and respected or forgotten, abandoned, and even worse, humiliated?
Seeds cannot do it alone.
I am spiritual, not religious. So what’s the difference between being spiritual and religious? It’s the same as “me” and “we.”
We all know someone who claims to be spiritual but not religious. But what exactly does this mean? Well, it’s like saying their American but not a citizen. In other words, they like everything about being an American except all the rules and laws and people that go with it. To sum it up: they don’t like to be challenged.
No man is an island. No one can experience God or know God by themselves. We all need one another. Seed and ground. God and man. Creation and redemption.
We need people praying for us and lifting us up in prayer and song. We need to hear people’s conversion stories. We need to share our experiences with one another. We need friends. We need enemies. We need saints and we need sinners. We need all these things just like we need the rain, the sun, the wind and the shade. We need the Church.
All creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God. Let’s not let creation down.
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