Sunday, July 12, 2020 (15th Week in Ordinary Time) Reading and Reflection


Theme of the Sunday: An Abundant Harvest from Difficult Soil. We are accustomed to seeing the effects of Advertising. When youngsters see ways of dressing or combing their hair in films or on TV, they imitate them. Why is the Gospel so slow in entering our hearts? This question is answered by today’s readings. The Gospel tells us it depends on the soil. Jesus assures us that even the most barren soil cannot long resist the penetrating force of the seed. The first reading strengthens this idea and compares the word of God to the rain that brings life. The second reading tells us that sowing is always difficult, it is a time of pain, though not the pain of death, merely the beginning of new life.

“The rain makes the earth fruitful.”
A reading from the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 55: 10-11)

Thus says the Lord: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I intend, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 65:9abcd.9e- 10.11- 12.13 (R. Lk5:Sa)
R/. The seed that fell into good soil yielded a hundredfold.

You visit the earth, give it water;
You fill it with riches.
God’s ever-flowing river brims over
to prepare the grain. R.

And thus you provide for the earth
you drench its furrows;
you level it, soften it with showers;
you bless its growth. R.

R/. The seed that fell into good soil yielded a hundredfold.

You crown they ear with your bounty.
Abundance flows in your pathways;
in pastures of the desert it flows. R.

The hills are girded with joy.
The meadows clothed with flocks.
The valleys are decked with wheat.
They shout for joy; yes, they sing! R

“All creation is waiting for the revelation of the sons of God.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint, Paul to the Romans (Romans 8:18-23)

Brethren: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning with labour pains together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

The word of the Lord.

Alleluia. The seed is the word of God, and the sower is Christ; all who find him will abide forever. Alleluia.

“A sower went out to sow.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 13: 1-9 10-23)

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A Sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.” *

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them. ’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. “Hear then the parable of the sower. When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection

Jesus often spoke in parables in order to create opportunities for deep reflection on the lessons that are behind the daily events of our lives. The parable of the sower reflects one of these events. It is a narration of the life of a farmer who possesses in great measure the virtues of patience and hard work. At the same time he does not rely on his personal resourcefulness but rather on divine providence for the fruit of his labour. He scatters the seed everywhere with the hope that some might fall on rich soil. And the seed of God’s word, according to the prophet Isaiah, bears fruit in proportion to our disposition towards welcoming this word and allowing it to challenge and transform our lives. So we are all responsible for the type of soil we provide for God to sow his words in our hearts.


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