Daily Reflection – Jul 16, 2017
Sunday 16 July 2017
First Reading:Isaiah 55:10-11
The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
Psalm 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14
Second Reading:Romans 8:18-23
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:1-23
Today’s Note: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
The disciples approached him and said,
“Why do you speak to them in parables?”
He said to them in reply,
“Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted,
and I heal them.
“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.
“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.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away.
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,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”
My word shall not return to me void. (Isaiah 55:11)
In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses the image of seed sown on different kinds of soil to teach his listeners about the fruitfulness of God’s word (Matthew 13:1-23). Every seed has the same potential for growth; it is the type of soil that determines how abundant the yield will be. The prophet Isaiah seems to say the same thing: God’s word, like the seed, always remains fruitful—it will not return void. So it seems that our human response determines the harvest.
Perhaps this explains why some people seem to bear more spiritual fruit than others. The Old Testament story of King Saul and King David offers us a dramatic illustration of this principle (1 Samuel 9–2 Samuel 12).
Saul was chosen by God to rule over Israel, but because of his fear and selfishness, he disobeyed the Lord. He didn’t make a good return to God or bear lasting fruit. As a result, God chose someone else—a man after his own heart—to replace Saul: the shepherd David.
Now, David did what God asked him to do. He fought Israel’s enemies, he rescued the ark of the covenant from the Philistines, and he even danced joyfully before the Lord for all to see.
Of course, we all know that David was far from perfect. He committed adultery and let himself get caught up in a web of deception and murder. But he also repented (Psalm 51). Despite his serious failings, David’s humility allowed God to continue to use him. It wasn’t because he was perfect that David could bear fruit for the Lord; it was because he loved God and tried to follow him with his whole heart.
David and Saul’s story shows that God can work with flawed people who are humble, dedicated, and willing to turn back to him. Through repentant sinners like David—through repentant sinners like us—the seed of God’s word doesn’t return empty; it can bear much fruit.
“Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness. Help your word to bear fruit in my life today.”