Fertilize your Heart

July 16, 2017
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
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. Miguel Josemaria C. Valeroso)

Kung ako’y muling iibig, sana’y di maging katulad mo… na may pusong bato. If I will love again, I wish it would not be with someone like you, with a heart of stone. So goes a popular song about an unrequited lover. How rightly the song can be of our Lord’s oftentimes one-sided love for us.

Like the song, the parable is supposed to move us to grieve at our offense to the lover. The Divine Sower is so expectant that the seed of the Word will bear fruit in every heart. Such is His love for us that He continues to love us despite our hardened hearts, patiently waiting for our sorrow and remorse so that He can furnish us with a new heart made of flesh. A heart of flesh is a heart full of God’s mercy and is then a merciful heart. What fruits can a merciful heart produce? “…charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.” (Gal 5:22-23)

The parable gives us hope that God rains down his grace to all – the good and the bad, young and old, rich and poor. Rightly so, everyone is expected to bear fruit. Let us then work at our hearts – till it with contrition, remove the rocks of apathy and the thorns of vices and even apply the fertilizer of forgiveness. With our hearts properly disposed, the Word of God will find us potent and ready to bear fruit.

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