Fifteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time Year A
July 12, 2020 – 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Isaiah 55:10-11 | Psalm 65:10-14
Romans 8:18-23 | Matthew 13:1-9

+In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

In our readings for today, we are bestowed with Parables.  As you may recall from your schooling, Parables are a form of writing introduced by ancient rabbis in Israel to teach their followers about God.

And since Jesus was both Jewish and a rabbi, He preached oftentimes in the same way.  A Parable is an open-ended story which instead of telling you the ending or moral, it leaves you with the challenge of completing it yourself.

What makes Parables so intriguing is that when you share it with a group of people, such as what we have present today at St. Cecilia’s, or with those who are joining us virtually, we might get numerous different responses to it.

Parables were meant to be about the Kingdom of God.  But the Gospel of Matthew refers to “the Kingdom of Heaven” since Jewish tradition forbid using the sacred name of God and used the word “heaven” instead.

And in following along with that, the Kingdom of God does not refer to a place, but to God.  It is a place where God is adored, cared for, and loved.

So in order to understand the Parable, you need to have faith in the one telling you the story or Parable.  And the greatest teacher of all time is the One telling these Parables:  Jesus, the Son of God.

In today’s first reading, Isaiah compares the Word of God to rain and snow.  “As the rain and snow came down and do not return there til they have watered the earth” implies that the Word of God provides us with what is necessary to sustain us if we have faith.

In our second reading from Romans, Paul makes two statements: one is about the longing of the world:  “For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God.”  And the second one “We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now and not only that but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit.”  Our future glory will far outweigh our present sufferings as the Holy Spirit guides us and supports us.

The Eucharist is a pledge of future glory as it fills us with grace and heavenly blessing.  Just as Isaiah had a vision of God coming to redeem creation, Paul argues in Romans 8 that the future glory we will share with Jesus will far outweigh our present sufferings.

In today’s Gospel from Matthew, we have the parable of the sower who absentmindedly goes about his work with no regard as to where he is planting his seeds.  He has a huge bag of seeds that he needs to empty and he’s walking about his land flinging seeds everywhere, including thorn bushes, paths where people walk, and even on rocks.

Anyone who has planted seeds or done any farming would say, “You’re wasting your seed.”

But Jesus tells us that the sower is simply taking all the seeds and throwing them up into the air and they are falling into places where they simply do not belong.

Now actually, there is more to this story than that.  Jesus uses the sower to symbolize one of his disciples or messengers when you analyze it more carefully.

The seed is symbolic of the Word of God and the sower is the disciple sent to spread the Word.

And an even closer look at this parable shows us that the sower of seeds is actually Jesus and the seeds that are thrown on the rocks or walkways and die represent that Jesus must also die for us in order to give us eternal life.

Eternal life is a term used by Jesus to describe the state of endless happiness enjoyed by the just in heaven.  (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).  It means not only life everlasting, but also fulness of life which the believer experiences here on earth by participating in spreading the Word of God.

The hard soil represents someone who is hardened by sin.  She hears, but does not understand because Satan leads her astray.  The stony soil symbolizes someone who claims to believe the Word, but her heart is not sincere and his faith vanishes at the slightest challenge.  The thorny soil depicts one who appears to receive the Word, but he is lured away by riches, pleasures, and lusts.  The fertile or good soil represents one who hears, understands, and welcomes the Word to accomplish its goal.  The one represented by the good soil is the only one who is truly saved.

When you ponder this story even more, you realize that the field where the seeds are planted is not really a field, but your own heart.

Jesus invites us to come with Him and join in spreading the Word and recognize that the seed is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Why does “the house” always have a role when Jesus tells us a Parable?  Notice that Jesus always either comes out of the house to talk with us or goes into the house afterwards….this is because the house is where the disciples reside.

To summarize, one’s reception of God’s Word is determined by one’s heart.

Today’s Parable of the sower speaks to all of us.

What type of soil are you?

What have you done with the seed planted in you?

During this time of a pandemic and social unrest, are you feeling depressed or helpless?  Or are you actively being a good sower, spreading the Word of God

By helping others,

Wearing a mask in public to protect the vulnerable and the elderly

Practicing social distancing

Washing your hands frequently

Staying home if you feel sick

Donating groceries, toiletries, clothing, blankets, towels

Offering love and respect to all people

Let’s all go about to be good sowers of God’s Word!