Reading I: Isaiah 55:10-11
Reading II: Romans 8:18-23
Psalm Response: 65:10,11, 12-13,14
Gospel: Matthew 13:1-23
If there was ever an agricultural theme for a set of readings, this week's readings certainly fits the bill. A fitting time to look to the fields, look to the harvest, notice the crops as the summer ripens and autumn draws nearer.
Isaiah writes of the Lord's word, just as precipitation falling from heaven waters the earth and produces food, his word goes forth from his mouth to achieve a harvest of his will, his intended purpose.
The psalm praises the Lord for the bounty of the harvest, his providence in drenching the fields, using very poetic language. The fields are garmented with flocks and the valleys blanketed with grain. What a beautiful word picture.
In Romans the battles and struggles of the Christian life have hope of coming to fruition, as we ourselves are called firstfruits of the Spirit. Our struggles to grow will not count for naught. We have been planted by the Lord, our growth is in the Lord, we will be gathered again to the Lord.
The Gospel reading is a parable about a sower who goes out to sow, to plant, and has mixed results based on where the seed falls. The disciples are perplexed by Jesus' use of parables, and Jesus gives them an inside interpretation of the story. I am so glad that the writer of Matthew included this (psst, come here, I'll put you in the know, the writer whispers), as it enables us to understand the parable ourselves as it was understood by the disciples, and gives us a clue into how other parables we read are meant to be understood. I kind of wonder if the disciples really understood the parable before Jesus so kindly provided them the interpretation.
It may be perplexing to hear that some are not blessed with understanding, even many prophets and righteous people from the past who longed to know what the disciples learned by being with Jesus. The early Christians really struggled with that question, and also with not understanding why many of their contemporaries did not accept Jesus' teaching, and that is reflected in this story they chose to record through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, what God has ready for those who love him, or for those who will love him. I know that there are days that I am not blessed with understanding, and on those days it is best to wait upon the Lord.
A parable, or any portion of Scripture for that matter, at first glance can be seen as a raw and unprocessed product, like a grain of wheat. A grain of wheat can be processed in so many ways. It can become bread, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, tortillas, pasta. It can be roasted or baked or boiled, depending on the creativity and the needs of the cook. It is prepared to nourish our bodies. With the word of God, it too can be processed in many ways. It can become the ingredient for a homily, a teaching device, an essay, an inspirational thought, a convicting jolt, a new story, a poem, a reminder of our past or a hope for the future. It is prepared to nourish our soul and spirit, and when our souls are nourished, our bodies too benefit. God's word as food, as harvest.
As we read, it is the Lord himself, the Master of the Harvest, who feeds us. As we hear the word proclaimed at Mass and through the mouths of those near to us, it is the Lord himself, the Master Gardener, who feeds us, nourishes us, and causes us to grow into more mature Christians. As we receive Christ in Holy Communion. Come, all you who are hungry...let us see what the Lord has prepared today.
Blessings In Christ,
Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.