Matthew 13:1-9

The church’s objective in choosing scripture passages for each day is to provide a single message from two or three selections from multiple books of the Bible. As noted in the introduction to today’s liturgy, today’s message is the transforming power of the Word of God as contained in today’s very short reading from the Book of the prophet Isaiah and the short reading from the 13th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel.

Isaiah tells us that the Transforming power of the Word of God, is like snow and rain which comes down from the heavens and does not return there until it has watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to those who sow and bread to those who eat just as the Word of God which comes from God’s mouth will do His will by achieving the end for which he sent it.

In today’s Gospel Jesus explains the transforming Power of the Word of God using a parable, which is placing two things side by side for comparison. The comparison in this case is between the four different environments in which the seed is scattered in an effort to obtain a successful harvest and the success for experiencing the Transforming Power of the Word of God. In the first three environments the potential for success appears to be zero. The cause for failure in the first situation is that the seed is eaten by birds. Comparing that with the cause for failure in experiencing the Transforming Power of the Word of God would be that the people don’t understand The Word of God. In the second environment where the seeds fall on rocky ground the Transforming Power of the Word of God would not be experienced because the people have no firm foundation for their faith. In the third environment were the seed falls among the thorns, the Transforming Power of the Word of God didn’t happen because even though the people initially received The Good News they later abandoned it because they succumbed to the lure of the world. In the fourth case where the seed fell on good ground successful harvest is likely. In comparing that with The Transforming Power of the Word of God that was like the people hearing the Word of God it and conforming their lives to it.

In my preparation for this homily I came across a fanciful parable about rejecting the Word of God entitled “The Fussy Vegetarian”.

There was a young woman committed to being a vegetarian, but she was never satisfied with any of the fruit or vegetables she bought. For her, all the melons were too ripe, or not ripe enough, all the tomatoes were bruised or unripe, heads of cauliflower and broccoli were too big or too little. Then one day driving down a new street she passed a new store with a long line of people waiting to get in. The store’s sign read: “God’s Fruit and Vegetable Stand”. “Finally”, she said, “I can get some decent vegetables and fruit.” So she stood in line and waited. Hours went by before she walked through the door. As she entered the store she was enveloped in light, but she didn’t see any apples or oranges or tomatoes or cabbage, or anything to buy. She walked to the light and there at a counter stood God. She could tell it was God because of the light, and because he had an apron on with a big G on it. So she placed her order saying, “I would like some perfect broccoli, and some perfect tomatoes and a perfect melon. Also, if you have perfect Brussel sprouts, that would be a miracle.” “Sorry,” said God, “I only sell seeds here.”

Actually, God doesn’t sell seeds, He gives seeds to us. The seeds are his Word in its many expressions. But we have to do something with this precious gift. It simply is not enough just to hear the Word of God. We have to let it grow within us and influence our lives, enabling us to live like the People of the Word.

Reference: Fr. Tony’s Scriptural Homilies Cycle A (No. 36) akakavil@gmail.com

The New American Bible Translation of Isaiah 55:10-11
“For just as from the heavens 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 him who sows and bread to him who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”

The New American Bible Translation of Isaiah 55:10-11
“For just as from the heavens 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 him who sows and bread to him who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”

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