FIFTEENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR (A)
Isaiah 55:10-11, Psalm 64:10-14, Romans 8:18-23, Matthew 13:1-23
THE WORD OF GOD IS THE KEY TO A FRUITFUL LIFE
It is raining season in Nigeria, the season many people especially farmers love so much. This is because what they have planted will blossom. For those who have planted so much, they are hoping that the crops grow well to reap a bountiful harvest.
In the first reading of today we see the prophet Isaiah telling the people of Israel who had just come back from exile and were wondering if God was still with them, that God is not selective in his blessings, it is our disposition for the blessing that matters. As the rain is falling this period, it rains on all the land. Only those who have prepared their lands for the rain will benefit from it.
In the gospel reading of today, we see a very vivid example of what the prophet Isaiah describes in the first reading. Jesus gave us the parable of the sower, the only parable in the bible that has an explanation. In the ancient near east, just as in other places, they have their own system of planting. To plant maize in most southern part of Nigeria for example, one just needs to dig a little hole on the already prepared ground and bury the seedlings. In the northern part of Nigeria, I understand that ridges have to be made because of the nature of the ground. Farmers in the ancient near east do not even dig the ground, they scatter their seeds on the ground and the survival of the seeds depend on where they fall; on rock, thorns, the path, on good soil.
Jesus makes us to understand today, that our survival in life depends not on the rain, but where we are as the seeds. This is because he always sends us rain to make our seeds grow. As we see in the parable, many seeds struggled to grow because of their disposition. As Christians, we hear the word of God everyday. It is the water for our seed of faith. Our growth and fruitfulness depends on what we do with the word of God we hear everyday. Many people have stopped listening to the word of God, some listen but do not take it serious, some listen but are not able to put it into practice because of the situation around them. These were the situation of the seeds. The seeds that produced bountifully were the ones well placed, just as those who listen to the word of God and act on them produce a quality life, and are candidates of the kingdom of God.
For many of us Christians, what distracts us from concentrating on the word of God and acting on them is the situations around us. This is why st Paul tells us today in the second reading not to look at the things around us as the ultimate, because what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed which is waiting for us. Let go of the situation and focus on God today for your seeds to grow.
Preachers of faith therefore, are not to get discouraged if people seem not to listen to them, or seem not to respond to the faith. Just like God, we must keep the rain coming, some seeds may eventually fall off from the rocky ground, path ways and thorns to a fertile ground and they will produce a great harvest. God help us. Amen.
Fr Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie MSP