15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 16, 2017
Help me, Lord, to discern the soil in which You want me to sow Your Word. Make me recognize You wherever You are, and in the humblest of my brothers and sisters. Help me to marvel whenever I watch Your works in miracles and in everyday deeds. Amen.
This Sunday's readings are about sowing seeds. The important thing to remember about seed sowing is that the effort is worthless if the seeds are not changed by being cast to the ground. Each seed must give up its former self, dying in the dirt while new life stirs within it. Only then can it send out a tender, first root, which will multiply and grow stronger and deeper to support upward growth. Even so, it has to be properly nourished to survive.
If all this takes place, the end result is a plant that looks nothing like the seed, which as it grows develops the ever-more important mission of benefitting the wider world of Nature beyond itself.
As we listen to Jesus explain the parable, we say yes, we want to be seeds that become fruitful lives. But desiring it does not automatically transform us. What is it that makes the soil of our lives rich and growth-producing?
The reading from Isaiah tells us that it is God himself who is the rich soil -- God and his Word. Saint Paul reminds us in the second reading that suffering is part of creation (seeds must fall in the dirt and die in order to produce a fruitful life). Redemption grows from suffering and death.
We will never feel truly fulfilled until we've surrendered to the soil and have allowed God to nourish our growth.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
What tender, new roots do you have that are sprouting from times of suffering and loss? What blessings are springing up from them? What ministry (what benefit to others) could be a fruitful gift of these blessings?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Share what it means to give up your former self to allow new life to stir and grow. What is the will of God (what does the Word say) regarding the end result? Give examples from your life or from the lives of others.
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