July 21st, 2021

A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew 13:1-9

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.”

Opening Prayer: Show favor, O, Lord, to your servants and mercifully increase the gifts of your grace, that, made fervent in hope, faith, and charity, they may be ever watchful in keeping your commands. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.

Encountering Christ:

During Jesus’ public life near the Sea of Galilee, he began to attract many followers. The large crowds were quick to find him and he attended to their needs, making himself available so that they would be fed, not only with food that nourishes the body but also with his word that nourishes the spirit. Two thousand years later he continues to make himself available, in his word and in the Eucharist. We need only to have a heart like those who sought him out and stood along the shore to take in every word and accept his gift of “our daily bread.”

Jesus used imagery that spoke to something very familiar in his followers’ lives— the sowing of seed. They could identify with the preparation of the land and all the elements that could work contrary to good cultivation of the seed. But the parable speaks to us today as well. Nature hasn’t changed. His words can still resonate in our twenty-first-century hearts. What are the thorns, the sun that scorches, or the rocky ground that threatens the life of Christ within us? How well do we cultivate the soil of our soul to receive the word of God? 

Jesus ended his parable saying, “Whoever has ears to hear, ought to hear.” He was reminding us that we are all capable of receiving his word, but perhaps we do not permit it. True listening requires the right disposition, which is a spirit ready to use our freedom to obey the voice of God. We must be ready, like Elijah, to hear God’s voice that comes as a soft breeze or whisper. We must be willing to root out the distractions that create thorns and rocky soil, so as to truly receive the Lord, ready and willing to speak to our hearts.

To tell a parable like this, Jesus must have spent much time observing, noticing and reflecting on simple events. The truth of how God is was revealed in how God works. Thinking of what you like to notice and reflect on, what speaks to you about the way God is at work in your life?

If this parable is a seed, how are you soil? What is it that helps you to receive the Word of God as nourishment? Adverse conditions abound: the birds of anxiety; the thin soil of busyness, the thorns of many concerns. What threatens your happiness? What creates good soil for you?

Closing Prayer: Loving God, you fill all things with fullness and hope that we can never comprehend. Thank you for leading us into a time where more of reality is being unveiled for all of us to see. We pray that you will take away our natural temptation for cynicism, denial, fear and despair. Help us have the courage to awaken to greater truth, greater humility, and greater care for one another. May we place our hope in what matters and what lasts, trusting in your eternal presence and love. Amen.

Action of the Day: Lord, today by your grace, I will sit with the Daily Scriptures, asking the Holy Spirit to open my spiritual ears to hear what you wish to speak to me. Your servant is listening.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

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