15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – On the Gospel

Isaiah 55:10-11

Romans 8:18-23

Matthew 13:1-23

Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, cssp

Hearing and Understanding God’s Word

 The young man Eric was giving testimony to the turnaround in his life since he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. Two years before, he confessed, he had no appetite for the Word of God. On Sundays he used to shop round the neighbourhood churches for the priest that gave the shortest homilies. His idea of a good church service was one that took as little time as possible. The shorter the better. But now that he is born again he could sit down and listen to the preaching of God’s word for hours on end. Our disposition for the Word of God is a good indication of our relationship with the Lord. Today’s gospel is an invitation to review and renew our attitude to the word of God.

The Parable of the Sower likens the teaching of God’s word to the sowing of seeds. The seeds fall on different types of soil, the pathway soil, the rocky soil, the thorny soil, and the good soil. Each of these types of soil is said to represent a certain type of heart with which hearers receive the word of God. The question each of us must ask ourselves today is, “What type of soil for the word of God do I represent? Am I like the pathway where the seed cannot even sprout, or like the rocky ground where the seed sprouts but has no roots, or like thorny ground where the word of God is choked to death by worldly cares, or like the good soil that bears much fruit? Comparing our different dispositions to different types of soil has one crucial limitation. Soil cannot help being what it is. We can. And so the question that follows is: “How can I improve the disposition of my heart so that the word of God can bear fruit in my life or bear fruit more abundantly? To help us answer this question we shall go back to the story of Eric.

Prior to his conversion, Eric did not relish the preaching of the word of God. Many young people today and many that are not so young are in a similar situation. The responsibility for this attitude to God’s word could be shared between those who communicate it and those who receive the message. Preachers often take pride in saying it “just as it is.” The fact that Jesus used stories and parables to teach tells us that it is not enough to say it just as it is. Truth is bitter and bitter pills are often coated in sugar to make them more palatable. One of the most successful preaching missions ever carried out was that made by the prophet Nathan before the adulterous king David (2 Samuel 12) and it was achieved not by saying it just as it is but by the use of a parable. People would be less averse to the word of God if preachers could devise more palatable ways of communicating the gospel truth which is sometimes bitter.

How the word is communicated is important, but the Parable focuses more on how it is received. In the parable the crucial difference between those who hear the word fruitfully and those who don’t lies in the understanding of what they hear:

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. …But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit … (Matthew 13:19,23)

What is it that makes one person understand and another person not understand the gospel? Jesus tried to address this problem, especially in the Gospel of John. In John 8:43 we read, “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word.”

We often assume that people will accept the Good News if only they could understand, but the reverse is also true that people cannot really understand God’s word until they first accept God in their lives. This we see in the story of Eric who begins to relish and understand God’s word only after he submits to God and enters into a personal relationship with Him. A firm resolve to do God’s will in our lives is the best disposition for hearing and understanding God’s word, because “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine” (John 7:17).

***********************************************************************

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

 Homily # 1

In the Incarnation, the Word of God leaped down from heaven in the person of Jesus. Through him God spoke and continues to speak to us today.

People were fascinated with the beauty of his words and came to him in such great numbers that, on one occasion, he had to improvise a boat as his pulpit! Then, as now, he planted the good seed in human hearts, granting us knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. The seed is truth, and the truth sets us free.(Jn.8:32)

The planting of a seed in the New Testament is associated with resurrection and life. Every time we plant a seed in the ground and see it sprout and grow and produce fruit, we witness another miracle in nature. As we drive through the seemingly endless fields of corn and wheat ripening in the sun, we marvel at the never-ending goodness and providence of God: He gives us, not only the rich soil and rain and the life-giving rays of the sun, but He also gives us the seeds. Everything that we have is a gift of God, including abundant harvests!

We see an even greater miracle in the Spirit, when a person receives the Word of God and makes a commitment to Him and His people. God plants the free gift of faith in our hearts. He nourishes it with the living Word, with His grace and through all the loving people who help to bring us to Christian maturity and teach us how to love.

Jesus tells us, as He told His first disciples, “I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, the kind of fruit that endures. (John 15:16) Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II, among countless others, received the Word and opened their hearts to God’s call in their youth and never stopped growing spiritually. In them the seed truly fell on good ground and produced much fruit. “By their fruits you shall know them”, Jesus said. (Matthew 7:20)

Today we thank God for the seed of faith growing within us, for having freed us from slavery to corruption and promising us a share in the glorious freedom of the children of God! (Romans 8:21)


Homily # 2

Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 64; Romans 8:18-23; Matthew 13:1-23

Perfection is something most of us would like to have.  Most of us would have to humbly admit that being a perfect person is a goal that we would have to work at a great deal if ever we were ever to reach it.  Of course we live from day to day with our own imperfections and with those of others. We can often dream of what might make us happy: the perfect spouse, friend, group, job or profession, my neighbourhood and that perfect holiday of a lifetime.  Natural disasters occur in different parts of the world, often there is a local tragedy, maybe a personal illness or in the family, the loss of one’s job, which could easily lead me to conclude: is there any meaning or purpose to my life?

Before I continue down the road with low spirits there’s another side of life that I can allow to slip in to the sadder part of me. It is almost certain that tomorrow the sun will rise like it did this morning; maybe today I feel grateful that I have been helped along in life by so many good people, family and friends alike. Here at this very moment I can just bathe in thankfulness.

Today I can allow myself to be touched by what is perfect.  No one is perfect except God the Father, Jesus said.  All perfection is in God, as a unity of persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That community of Three Persons has perfection, and is its source. All the good I see, hear and feel is from God who is all good.  God created all that exists and he said it ‘was very good,’  Out of his infinite love  he created each one of us and everything around us for our benefit. In his great love he then sustains all he created. That’s who our God is; that’s what he does for every single person and thing he has created.

There is something else that God gives us today out of his infinite love and goodness, and that is his word.  His word is like a seed scattered on the earth. His word is perfect, because the word comes from him. His perfect word comes into an imperfect world.  His word seeks out the rich soil of our lives where it can come and live and bear fruit.  Failure can not be in the power of God’s word; failure lies with the poverty of the soil in our lives. God’s word comes to us at top quality as a good radio station will try to transmit to its listening audience; the quality of reception from that station will then depend on how well the radio is tuned. No matter how good the radio transmitter, a poor quality radio and one that’s poorly tuned is likely to produce a poor reception.

God’s perfect word is sent out and comes to us seeking a hearing in our hearts and minds – seeking a place to live. Firstly, I become good soil for the seed of God’s word in me once I acknowledge that I do need God in the first place, secondly, God’s word can take root in me in the most unlikely places, that is, in my brokeness.  Where I feel I am most weak and broken can be the places where the soil is best for God to speak to me and to speak from to others. Where am I weak and broken?  In my weakness I can tell others how I have been touched by God’s perfect word, and the wonders he has done for me?  It is not a question as to what is right or wrong in my life that matters to the word bearing fruit, it is a matter of whether I am open to what God’s plans are for me.  I must try never to deny him the joy that he takes in coming more and more into my life.

When I let God into my life more and more he is taking up his rightful place; in other words, he sets up his kingdom there. It is in my heart that God’s kingdom wishes to set up and where his kingdom comes.  God’s gracious plan for all his people is that his wish be fulfilled in as many as possible. I may feel at this moment that the task ahead is too daunting for myself and for the rest of the world, it is not; because the meaning of this simple parable today is that the kingdom of heaven will be successful in spite of all frustration and difficulty.  My life may be strewn with rocks, weeds and thorns these are obstacles too big sometimes for me tackle, they are not, for he who is the Sowing One.  All I have to do is let him in.  Can I do that?  He will do the rest.  There will then be a glorious outcome for me: I will be the rich soil that produces a one hundred per cent return.  I will then have reflected God’s life to the world revealing that what begins in grace ends in glory.


Homily # 3

Often, as we listen to the readings each weekend we may have the feeling they don’t apply to our lives.  Today’s gospel could be one of those instances.  Jesus talks  about sowing seeds but what do we know about seed?  If he mentioned super markets, restaurants or McDonalds we might pay attention.  We don’t scatter seeds to obtain our food and we probably don’t know much about the growth process of most of the crops from which we get our daily sustenance.

But, wait a minute.  Is there anything that we sow, that we spread, that does have an effect upon our lives.  What about our time?  Yes, we do scatter the minutes of our day just as a farmer would scatter the seeds in a field.  We scatter 60 seconds each minute, 60 minutes each hour for about 16 hours each day.  That’s about 57,000 seconds that we scatter throughout our daily routine.  That’s a lot of seeds.

How does this apply to the words Jesus spoke to His Jewish followers?  He said that if the farmer scatters his seeds in certain ways, he will not reap a bountiful harvest.  His message to each of us, today, is the same.   Jesus mentioned the seed sown on the path where the ground is so hard that nothing can take root.  That’s like sewing grass seed on our driveways.  Nothing will grow.  If we are sowing our minutes each day on hard ground pursuing money,  power or influence  we are making the same mistake the farmer made?  If we have no time for prayer, no time for our families, no time for helping others our minutes will not bear fruit, we will not store up an abundance of grace or of charity.

By like token, we too can spread our minutes on the rocky ground.  We can spend hours at the office or on the golf course.  We can attend luncheons or bridge parties and, like the seed that feel on rocky ground, we will have no roots.  We will not have time to attend Mass during the week or pause to say the rosary while driving in our cars.  Therefore, our minutes will not bear fruit.

To the young people I would ask you to listen to the words of Jesus.  He said, “Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew and choked it.”  If anyone sows their seeds in the thorns of drugs, alcohol and sins against the sixth commandment, Jesus warns us that our lives will be choked out.  Some here are probably familiar with friends who sowed their seeds among the thorns and did not find the fulfillment of a rich harvest but the agony of tragedy.  Think of them as you listen to the words of Jesus this morning.  There is a better way.

Is Jesus saying we shouldn’t work hard to support our families, that we should never relax and enjoy ourselves or engage in wholesome entertainment with our friends?  Not at all!  Jesus died so that we could be happy, so that our lives could be full and so that we could have an eternal future with Him.  However, for that to happen we must make decisions.  We must recognize that He isn’t talking about seeds but he is talking about how we spend our minutes and whether or not we are making the same mistakes the farmer made.

Often we may read the gospels and dismiss them as ancient history.  In a way they are because the world in which we live we must be much more vigilant than those who lived in Jesus’ time.  Look around us and consider the challenges we face.  Turn on the television or attend the movies and we see graphic depictions of   people living lives that was condemned by all in the time of Jesus. We see the greed and the dishonesty graphically represented by the scandal at the Enron corporation. And, let’s be honest, the scandal in our Church has rocked the faith of some Catholics.

To counteract the immoral modern society, Jesus is telling us to sow our minutes on the rich soil, sow them in such a way that we can find happiness and fulfillment.  Where is the “rich soil”?  It’s right here, here in this Church this morning.  We are all spreading our seeds, our minutes, in an atmosphere that allows us to grow, not in a worldly fashion, but in a way that ensures us of real life, a life a fulfillment in Jesus’ words.

Where is real happiness?  We find it in being charitable, prayerful,  loving our children, loving and helping our parents.  We find real happiness in honesty, chastity, sobriety and freedom from drugs.  We find happiness in the words of Jesus, “If you love Me you will keep my commandments” or “Love one another as I loved you.”

Yes, Jesus has promised that we will reap a huge harvest by following His teaching.  By following His commandments, by loving others as we love ourselves and by using our minutes to help those less fortunate, to spend time each day in prayer and by realizing that His words guide us to true happiness we can reap the harvest He has promised.

If Jesus were with us today He might speak to us like this:

Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because hear.  Amen, I say to you, many fabulously wealthy people like the executives at Enron or the owners of the media outlets which bring the pornography to our children and our teenagers are not on the path that leads to happiness.  What you have heard here in this church this morning is the path you must follow.  Those of you who hear My words and follow them will bear fruit and your life will yield a hundred fold.

Jesus has promised all this to us.  We can have everything by spreading our minutes wisely both in His service and by following His commandments.  He points the way to true happiness.


Homily # 4

Creation has its cost. To be creature, not creator, is to be in-complete, unfinished. Created being is radically insufficient to cause and sustain itself. Thus God, in willing that there be non-god, had to will that there be frailty and incompleteness.  Such is the price of creaturehood.   And yet, even though creation is not God, it is still precious in its unfinished and dependent state. Think of the human hand, so delicate in its strength, so supple and alert, so sensitive and expressive. Yet it can be smashed in a moment, cut off, wounded. Is it better off not to exist? Or is the hand, despite its frailty, glorious? Is its frailty its glory?

An infant’s giggle, a child’s untrammeled laughter, these disarm and delight. Yet the same enchanted voice can sound doom: utter rage and fear, alarm at the terrors of the night and the demons of the playground. Would it have been better to make us all unfeeling, unlaughing, unhurtable?

We are inherently deficient and wanting, inescapably vulnerable. Such is the pain of the earth. Yet the sufferings of time, Paul writes, are nothing compared to the glory revealed in us. There is futility in our being only if our being is all there is. The flower fades and droops. The once young body one day sags and then lingers long. Flesh hardens first, then melts away, corruptible, slave to space and time. And yet we glory in it, and rightly so. God does as well. This paltry flesh, like all creation groaning, longs for finish, completion, and rest. Such is the glorious agony of our condition.

We, like the earth that gives birth to us are subject to the great inexorable laws of rise and decay.  We are fundamentally good, we are growing things; and yet because we grow, we lack. The name for this mystery beneath the formation of mountain ridges and spinal cords is physical evil, deficiency, the parasite of an unfinished universe that is good.

But the appearance of human life raised the stakes: the joys and the catastrophes. For into this world were cast creatures not only unfinished in their being, but in their nature. Men and women were gifted not just with life, but with life aware of itself, endowed with the freedom to affirm or reject the limited good that they were.

Mountains show might, and seas roar, but humans utter, “Yes.” They might also say, “No.” And it was that yes or no that made us worth God’s final risk. In addition to the great play of organic development, there would be the drama of free choice. From such a creation would come not only the glories of love, but the catastrophes of moral evil.

Some of us would not understand at all. On the paths of life, unrooted, our freedom is pecked at by passing birds. For others, the freedom dries and withers. Still others choke their choice in fear and worldly anxiety. But then, others take it all in. They embrace the limit of life, the gift of being good but not God. They cherish the gift of dependence as creatures. And they bear fruit a thousand times more splendid than the bounty of trees.

Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth. It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.

This homily originally appeared in America Magazine


Homily # 5

God’s word is alive.  We are so accustomed to words, words, words:  rolling off our lips without much thought, flooding the radio waves without much meaning, pouring out of television attached to images which lack substance.  It may be difficult for us to truly appreciate the power of THE WORD.  Not until the Word became flesh did the full meaning of God’s revelation become available to us.   This Word, Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is the foundation of our lives.

This is the word of which Isaiah prophesied; this is the word which was planted in today’s Gospel; this is the word which lives in us, which breathes among us, which has the power to transform us into Christ’s body, into God’s glory, into the Kingdom of God.

But what does it look like, what does it feel like, how does it sound, what does it taste like?  At this Eucharist we hear it, we see it, we touch it, we taste it, we smell it, we know it to be true – with all the saints and angels gathered at the foot of THAT cross and around THAT altar, there can be no misunderstanding.  But what happens when we leave this place?

We will be walking difficult paths.

Is the word rooted deeply enough in us to bear fruit wherever we go?  Have we become the word we proclaim, the bread we eat, the cup we drink?

Let us pledge to one another that we will be the living Word of God, the body of Christ wherever we go.  We can try to measure every word we speak; if it is not God’s word, then let God speak in silence.  We can try to act only in Jesus’ name; if it is not what Jesus would do, we can let Christ act in our stead.

We will not do this perfectly; we are all vulnerable to reacting, to forgetting, to selfish inclinations.  Let’s not be too hard on ourselves or each other.  But please let’s pray at least that the desire of our heart be to live the word made flesh.

We are indeed rich soil; your faith is such eloquent testimony to God’s glory.  Let us all proceed from this great Eucharist to proclaim the Gospel with our lives, to bear fruit which yields an abundant harvest in God’s Kingdom.

************************************************************************

Good seed, good soil?

By Fr. Jerry Orbos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:22:00 07/13/2008

MANILA, Philippines—They say that there are three ways to catch a tiger. The first way, the Army way, is to pursue the tiger till it gets tired, and catch it. The second way, the Navy way, is to lure the tiger, then trap it. The third way, the police way, is to catch a cat, beat it up until it admits it is a tiger.

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Mt. 13, 1-23) we hear of the parable of the sower and the many ways of receiving the seed, the Word of God. And so it is that there are those who receive it without depth (the seed on the path). There are those who receive it without fruits (the seed sown on rocky ground and among thorns). And finally, there are those who receive it with fruits (the seed on good soil).

* * *

The seed is good. The sower is very generous. But the soil? It depends on us, the receivers of the seed. There are people who are always on the path and don’t have much time to listen to the word of God. These are the people who are always on the go, and who have “more important” things to attend to than matters of the spirit and matters of the heart. People such as these don’t have depth, and tend to be “mababaw” (shallow).

* * *

There are those who receive God’s word joyfully, but soon after they wither because there are a lot of rocks in their lives. They are not really rooted in God but in the material world. When trials, temptations and persecutions come, they dry up and die, precisely because they are not resilient. People such as these tend to be “malayaw” (pampered).

* * *

There are those who receive God’s Word and really take root in it, but are choked by riches of this world and by the weeds of sin, and so they survive, but they really don’t bear fruit. They just occupy space. Such people spend their whole lifetime vacillating, between goodness and evil, commitment and compromise, virtue and vice. People such as these are “matakaw” (selfish).

* * *

Still wonder why you are not really growing spiritually? Just in the survival mode? Not bearing fruits? Maybe it is because you are mababaw (shallow), malayaw (pampered), and matakaw (selfish). We must go beyond survival to fruit-bearing mode from 30, 60 to a hundredfold. God provides but we must abide. God operates but we must cooperate.

* * *

July 15-20 is World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia. Remember the World Youth Day in Manila, and how we all were singing “Tell the World of His Love”? The message remains the same. We must plant the seed especially among the youth and diligently nourish the seed in them. We must, by word and example, tell the youth that God is alive, that goodness pays, and that matters of the heart still matter.

* * *

There are many beautiful things deep inside us which this world will never understand, or listen to, but we must hold on to our peace, as long as we have done our best. Before a tree bears fruit, it has undergone a lot of patience, pruning and perseverance. The tree bears fruit because it stayed put. Yes, we must stay rooted in the Lord.

* * *

Congratulations to the Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) for the Golden Anniversary of Maryridge. In 1958, three RGS sisters, a few lay teachers and 44 children came to live and study in Maryridge, Tagaytay City, with the help of then Papal Nuncio Egidio Vagnozzi. They sowed the seed on good soil. Soon the place became a center for community outreach programs in keeping with the social concerns of Vatican II. Now, Maryridge is a healing and renewal center, a “home for all” with its welcoming, friendly and caring atmosphere. The theme of their celebration last Aug. 5 was “Homeward…Forward.” I joined them, as a former teacher there, in remembering with gratitude, rejoicing in humility and renewing our commitment to the Good Shepherd.

* * *

July 16 is the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. As she has done so concretely in the past, Mama Mary will continue to bless and protect us. Let us put ourselves, our country especially, during these difficult times under her motherly care and protection.

* * *

For those who want to end the day with laughter and a smile, watch Joey de Leon’s “Wow Mali” at ABC 5, 10:30 every night. The more I watch this program, I am not only entertained, but am amazed and edified by the goodness, simplicity, light-heartedness, faith and joy of us Filipinos as a people. But as a nation, with our present set of leaders, and with all the problems that confront us, I am not at all amazed or edified.

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, may your good seed find a good soil in me. Amen.

Which soil are you?

*************************************************************************

By BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVD

A PROFESSOR in a college English class said to his students, “If you will just take a new word and use 100 times, it will be yours forever.” Whereupon, a young woman in the class looked dreamily out of the window and sighed, “Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny…”

* * *

Jesus’ parables have been told and retold so that his teachings “will be yours forever” but not for the purpose of looking for a partner. One such parable of the Lord is that of the sower which is the subject of this 15th Sunday’s gospel (Mt 13:1-23).

* * *

The parable is a story of symbols. Jesus is the sower; the seed, the word of God or his teachings. The soil symbolizes the various types of people who hear and give responses to God’s word.

The people who received the seed on the wayside refer to those who allow the devil to take the word of God out of their hearts. For instance, they give in to the thoughts that there is no God, that you can do bad things as long as you are not caught.

* * *

Those who received the seed on rocky ground refers to those who welcome it with great joy and enthusiasm. But having no depth, they fizzle out a case of “ningas cogon.”

These people who start enthusiastically, say, in Charismatic and renewal seminars or even in civic organizations, but then drop out. They show up on the first days then disappear. Instead of receiving a Certificate of Attendance, they should receive a Certificate of Appearance!

* * *

The thorny soil refers to people who hear the word of God but the cares and worries of the world choke it.

These people are so busy, so preoccupied with their work and businesses that other important things, like prayer and going to Mass, get crowded out. Obviously this is not to spurn material pursuits but human life should not exclude the spiritual. “Not by bread alone does men live but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Remember Christ words?

Finally there is the good soil. It symbolizes those who’re receptive to God’s word and respond by applying it to themselves and bear fruits of good deeds.

* * *

Charlie Pitts owned the construction company that built the Toronto Subway in Canada. The more Charlie’s business grew, the more his personal and family life suffered. One day things got so bad that Charlie turned to the Bible for guidance.

As he read it, one sentence suddenly struck him. It was these words of Jesus: “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world but suffers the loss of his soul?” (Lk 9:25).

* * *

These words spoke right to Charlie. They said to him, “Charlie, this is what’s happening to you!” Bothered by the message, Charlie discussed it with his wife and decided to sell his company before it destroyed him.

Charlie went on to buy and manage a hotel and a golf resort. And part of the income from this enterprise was donated to the spread of the Gospel.

* * *

Thus, being receptive to God’s word means reading the Scriptures or listening to the Mass readings or the homily, picking out the valuable lessons and putting them into practice in daily life.

Which soil are you – the wayside, the rocky, the thorny or the fertile? Are you exerting enough effort to be a fertile soil by a righteous way of life and by bearing fruits of charity?

God wants us to be the fertile, productive soil.

* * *

Only tongues. A new arrival in heaven was being given a tour by St. Peter. The man was excited about the sights and places around.

Then he was led to a hall where so many tongues were hanging. The new resident was scared. How come, there only tongues here? How weird!”

* * *

“These are the tongues of people,” St. Peter explained, “who were very good in talking and making grandiose plans but never got to applying them. Only their tongues got to heaven.”

In hell there is also a hall filled with burning tongues. They’re there because they were used to gossip, slander and curse.

**************************************************************************

ANG LUPA AT SALITA: Reflection for 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A – July 10, 2011

Isang lola na parating nakaupo sa pinakaharap ng simbahan ang laging nahuhuli ng paring natutulog kapag siya ay nagsisimula ng magbigay ng homiliya. Minsan ay hindi na nakatiis ang pari at nang nakita niya muling natutulog ang matanda ay pabulong at marahan niyang sinabi sa mga tao: “Ang nais umakyat sa langit ay tumayo…” Natural, nagtayuan ang mga tao maliban sa matandang himbing na himbing sa pagtulog. Pagkatapos ay muli silang pinaupo at pagkatapos ay bigla siyang sumigaw ng malakas: “Ang nais mapunta sa impiyerno… tumayo!” At biglang balikwas si lolang tumayo. Hiyang-hiya ang matanda ng makita niyang nakaupo ang lahat at siya lang ang nakatayo. Kaya’t nagpaumanhin siya sa pari at nagsabi: “Pasensiya na po kayo padre… di ko gaanong narinig ang sinabi ninyo. Pero sa nakikita ko ngayon… dalawa tayong nakatayo!” hehehe… si lola nga naman… nandamay pa sa impiyerno! Wag nating tawanan si lola sapagkat marami sa atin ay masahol pa sa kanya. Hindi ko lang tinutukoy ang pagtulog sa simbahan kundi ang ating pakikinig sa Salita ng Diyos. Sa dami ng misa na ating dinaluhan ay maaari nating sabihing “lunod na lunod” na tayo sa pakikinig sa Salita ng Diyos. Ang tanong… bakit parang wala itong epekto sa ating buhay? Ang kasagutan ay nasa ating ebanghelyo ngayon. Ang Diyos ang magsasakang naghahasik ng “binhi” ngunit kung minsan ay para tayong mga lupang ayaw tumanggap o kaya naman ay panandalian lamang ang pagtanggap sa Kanyang Salita. Ilan kaya sa atin ang tunay na makapagsasabing tumatanggap, isinasapuso at isinasabuhay ang Kanyang mga Salita? Ang Bibliya ay isinulat upang ipahayag, pakinggan at isabuhay. Hindi lang sana ito naka-display sa ating bookshelf o kaya naman ay nakatampok sa ating mga dambana o altarina sa bahay. Sana binubuksan din natin ito, binabasa, pinagninilayan, at isinasabuhay araw-araw. Kung kaya nating magsayang ng mahabang oras sa harap ng computer sana kaya rin nating maglaan ng kahit ilang sandali sa pagninilay ng Kanyang mga Salita. Kung kaya nating manood at matiyagang makinig sa mahahabang tele-serye sa tv, sana ganun din sa pakikinig sa Misa. Dito nakikita ang ating pagiging “mabuting lupa”. Dito pinatutunayan ang ating pagiging mabuting Kristiyano.

kiliti-ng-diyos.blogspot.com/

********************************************************************

Are you a fertile soil?

By FR. BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVD

July 9, 2011, 12:36am

MANILA, Philippines — A professor in a college English class said to his students, “If you will just take a new word and use it 100 times, it will be yours forever.” Whereupon, a young woman in the class looked dreamily out of the window and sighed, “Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny…”

Jesus’ parables have been told and retold so that His teachings “will be yours forever” but not in order to look for a partner! One such parable is that of the sower which is the subject of this 15th Sunday’s gospel (Mt 13:1-23).

* * *

In the parable, Jesus is the Sower; the Seed, the Word of God or His teachings. The soil symbolizes the various types of people who hear and give responses to God’s word.

The people who received the seed on the WAYSIDE refer to those who allow the devil to take the word of God out of their hearts. For instance, they give in to the thoughts that there is no God or that they can do evil acts as long as they don’t get caught.

* * *

Those who received the seed on ROCKY ground refers to those who welcome it with great joy and enthusiasm. But having no depth, they fizzle out – a case of  “ningas cogon.”

These people start enthusiastically, say, in renewal seminars or various organizations, but then drop out.

* * *

The THORNY soil refers to people who hear the word of God but the cares and worries of the world choke it.

These people are so busy, so preoccupied with their work and businesses that other important things, like prayer and going to Mass, get crowded out. Obviously, this is not to spurn material pursuits but human life should not exclude the spiritual.

Finally, there is the GOOD soil. It symbolizes those who’re receptive to God’s word and respond by applying it in day-to-day life; thus bear fruits of good deeds.

* * *

Charlie Pitts owned the construction company that built the Toronto Subway in Canada. The more Charlie’s business grew, the more his personal and family life suffered. One day, things got so bad that Charlie turned to the Bible for guidance.

As he read it, one sentence suddenly struck him. It was these words of Jesus: “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world but suffers the loss of his soul?” (Lk 9:25).

* * *

Bothered by the message, Charlie discussed it with his wife and decided to sell his company before it destroyed him.

Charlie bought and manage a hotel and a golf resort. And part of the income from this enterprise was donated to the spread of the Gospel.

* * *

Charlie’s story shows being a fertile soil is being receptive to God’s word like reading the Scriptures or listening to the Mass readings and homily, then putting the lessons into practice.

Which soil are you – the wayside, the rocky, the thorny, or the fertile? Are you exerting enough effort to be a fertile soil by a righteous way of living  and by bearing fruits of charity?

God wants us to be the fertile, productive soil.

mb.com.ph/articles/326022/are-you-a-fertile-soil

**************************************************************************

Overspeeding, overloading

By: Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, SVD
Philippine Daily Inquirer

9:26 pm | Saturday, July 9th, 2011

The story is told about a mother superior and three nuns who were stopped by a traffic policeman for overspeeding. The mother superior contested the allegation, stating that they were religious, and that God was with them, including the Blessed Mother and their patron saint. To which the policeman replied: “In that case, I will also fine you for overloading.”

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Mt. 13, 1-23) Jesus tells His disciples about the Parable of the Sower who planted seeds on all sorts of grounds. The seeds were good, but their growth and produce depended on where they were sown. In other words, God’s grace can operate only if and when we cooperate with it.

* * *

None of us has a monopoly over God, or godliness for that matter. Neither will our religion be a guarantee for our salvation. We must move beyond names and labels, and make God and godliness present and alive in the day-to-day realities we encounter.

* * *

A person who blames God for bad things that happen in his/her life has still a long way to go. A person who keeps blaming others for his/her misery and travails in life also has still a long journey up ahead. A person who takes full responsibility and owns up to whatever situation he/she is in has arrived.

* * *

The soil, as we know, can be enriched, or can be impoverished. Good as it is, the Word of God, can produce a hundredfold harvest in each one of us, or can just wither and die depending on our openness and obedience. The saints and martyrs have shown to us that even in the most adverse conditions, the Word of God can come alive in a heart that is humble and contrite.

* * *

Whenever we encounter persecution or criticism of any kind this should lead us to soul-searching and prayer. Trials should bring us to our knees, humble us, purify us, and strengthen us.  Whenever we are faced with trials, the soil that is in us is being fertilized.

* * *

There have been, there are, and there will always be rock-throwing against the Church.  In particular, our bishops are the target these days. After the cry for blood, the finger-pointing, and the blame game shall have subsided, perhaps it would be good for us to see “the Big Picture” in this whole unfolding of events.

* * *

Let us not overspeed in judging our bishops! Our bishops are not saints, neither do they claim to be. Of the 133 bishops in the Philippines, seven are alleged to have received government funds from the PCSO, and the total amount they got was about P7 million. There is no certainty that they received Pajeros, and if ever they received vehicles, they were for the apostolate. The “Big Picture” is that the bishops under fire are a small dot in a landscape that is scattered with so much graft and corruption. I am sure this is a purifying and learning situation for the Church, for our bishops, and for all of us. But to focus on the dot is to miss the whole point. Yes, let us not forget the forest because of our focus on the trees. Don’t be fooled! These are persons so powerful that they can manage or manipulate issues and, yes, even people.

* * *

“Grace never leaves you where it first finds you.” (Anne Lamott)  It is good for us to be reminded today that no matter how far we wander from God, His grace always abides with us and will continue to find us. Many of us may have veered away or may have turned our backs from our original commitment because of our weaknesses, failures, and easy compromises, but it is so assuring to know that we are still loved, and that we can always go back, or come nearer, if that is all that we are able to do for now.

* * *

We hold on to the constancy of God’s Word, and the faithfulness of God. Yes, the seed is good and so is the sower. In the end, after we have done all that we can, we can only turn to God and plead for His mercy when the final accounting comes. Let us not overload ourselves with useless worldly pursuits and concerns. What matters most is that we did our best, and that we held on to our goodness, and that we continued to love.

* * *

Our biggest regret when we come to life’s end is that we had the opportunity and we wasted it! Those with much talents and never used them, those with much wealth and never shared them, those with much love and never expressed them, will have in the end much regret, wailing and grinding of teeth. Wasted soil, wasted land, wasted life—may these not be our lot when we come to the end of our lives.

* * *

The Philippine Soong Ching Ling Foundation is holding its 6th Shanghai International Children’s Cultural and Art Festival, July 30 to Aug. 5, 2011 in Shanghai. It is held every three years, with 195 groups from 35 countries and regions participating. This year, blind girl Fatima Soriano has been chosen to represent the Philippines. Let us give Fatima our moral support with our prayers and perhaps, for those interested, join her in her China trip. For particulars please call 7217457/5214156.

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me not to live a wasted life because of overspeeding and overloading. Amen.

opinion.inquirer.net/7453/overspeeding-overloading

*********************************************************************

See Today’s Readings:  Cycle A

Back to: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Advertisements
This entry was posted in zz. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

  1. Peter says:

    Thank you Fathers for your generous sharing of the Word of God.God bless you. Yours Peter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s