July 13, 2014

The Gospel Today

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 13:1-23

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.”

Reflection (Sem. Jonathan Cigaral):

Fr. James Martin in his book entitled “Jesus, A Pilgrimage” wrote that Jesus Christ’s “Parable of the Sower” is an invitation to introspect which part of oneself is open, and not open to the Word of God.  As I ponder on it, I see myself as a field which has different parts.  Some are fertile, some parts are rocky, and some parts are choked with weeds.

I would consider my family as that part of me which is a fertile soil.  The prayers, love and support which I receive from them despite the huge change in our status of living after I entered the seminary motivate me to persevere more in my formation.  My Nanay, whom I love so much, selflessly gave her blessings for me to heed the call of God.  I am grateful for having such a wonderful family, though not perfect, love truly abounds in all of us.  This is particularly evident in times of problems.

The rocky soil in me is my continuing struggle to live a life of obedience, poverty and chastity.  Making these three as a way of life is not easy.  The good thing though is that there is always conscious awareness and intention to make them part of my daily life.  I just need constant purification as I continue with my priestly formation.

Which part of my life is obstructed with weeds?  Perhaps it is my desire to follow God but there is miscarry in a very important aspect of my formation – prayer.  I sometimes fail in my prayer life particularly when I am outside the seminary premises during times of vacation.  Faithfulness to pray sometimes is a struggle.  This aspect of me may be unyielding and God’s Word sometimes fails to enter in my soul.

As Fr. James Martin wrote it, “God may want to dislodge a few rocks and pull out some weeds in order to clear a space for God’s Word to take root.”  Sometimes, periods of suffering or a frank and honest friend wake me up and make me realize that it is time for me to cultivate my soil in order for the Word of God to be rooted, nurture and flourish.        




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