This refrain from today’s Responsorial Psalm anticipates the lesson of the parable of the sower in today’s gospel. The parable is not so much about the sower (God) or about the seed (God’s word). It is about the soil (us) and the reception we give to God’s word. The same batch of seed will produce differently, depending upon the soil in which it is planted. Seed planted in more fertile soil will produce more fruit. If we are to be the productive soil about which Jesus speaks in today’s parable, we may need to be “worked up” and “fertilized.” We must cultivate an appreciation for God’s word and take the time to reflect on it. Look up the day’s scripture readings in your bible at home. You can also find them on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at <usccb.org>. Click on the date in the calendar you see at the upper right to see the readings for each day. Read them over carefully. Read the footnotes, which often give information which will help to understand certain passages by putting them in context or explaining certain words. The grace of the sacraments, especially penance and the eucharist, prepares the soul for a fruitful reception of God’s word. So does the rosary or prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, which offer opportunities for contemplation of God’s word.
The Word, of course, is Jesus himself. The Gospel of John states: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (1:14) To be receptive to God’s word contained in the scriptures is to be receptive to Jesus himself, God’s Word made flesh. To embrace the will of God expressed in his word is to embrace Jesus himself and his will for us. Saint Jerome said, “Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”
Of course every parable is about God, too. The sower is magnanimous, not stingy, as he sows the seed. God’s revelation is everywhere. The beauty, design, and rhythms of the natural world, for example, are available for all to see; yet how many fail to recognize them as the work of the Creator? Every creature has its place and its role to play. God used the watering, life-giving purpose of rain and snow in today’s First Reading as an image of the power of his word. We Catholics recognize the effectiveness of God’s living word proclaimed in the sacraments: it accomplishes what it expresses. Christ is this living word that gives the sacraments their efficacy. It is up to us to receive them worthily.
In the midst of all the heat and humidity, I did get my “hay” cut on Monday, the day of this writing. It should be picked up by the time you read this.
Pray the rosary this week that the heat may pass without severe storms. Pray for our country, for people affected by the corona virus and all who care for them, and for all affected by anger and violence. As always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.