Sunday, July 13, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - July 13, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Isaiah 55:10-11
10 Thus says the Lord: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, 11 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.
P S A L M - Psalm 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14
R: The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
9 [10] You have visited the land and watered it; greatly have you enriched it. God’s watercourses are filled; you have prepared the grain. (R) 10 [11] Thus have you prepared the land: drenching its furrows, breaking up its clods, softening it with showers, blessing its yield. (R) 11 [12] You have crowned the year with your bounty, and your paths overflow with a rich harvest; 12 [13] the untilled meadows overflow with it, and rejoicing clothes the hills. (R) 13 [14] The fields are garmented with flocks and the valleys blanketed with grain. They shout and sing for joy. (R)
2ND READING - Romans 8:18-23
18 Brothers and sisters: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. 19 For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; 20 for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; 23 and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower. All who come to him will have life forever.
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. 3And 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.” 10 The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 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. 12To 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.13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. 14 Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. 15 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 heart and be converted, and I heal them. 16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. 17 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. 18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 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. 20 The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. 21 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. 22 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. 23 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.”


Today’s First Reading and Gospel invite us to reflect on the power of God’s Word, and on our receptivity to it.

       In contrast with our often careless and superfluous speech, God’s Word has an innate power and effect that is truly fruitful. Add to that divine optimism and patience, and we’re infinitely assured of our Lord’s never-weary and limitless love. He is not bent on results or quantity.

       But what if God ran out of patience with us, and what if He were to go on a boycott against our many sins and transgressions, our fruitlessness and indifference? Hopefully not, of course, because God’s patience, trust, optimism and generosity will surely still prevail. He, as the Divine Sower, will continue to sow the seed of His Word, even though He knows that a lot of it will not take root and will just be wasted away. We can still take consolation in the infinite patience of God, who will never get tired of us or walk out on us.

       God’s Word, too, has a stubborn or a ceaseless quality about it. As the great reformer Martin Luther said, “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold on me.” But if God’s Word is so alive, at the same time it also needs an “ecosystem” for it to take root, sprout, grow and bear fruit. For all its innate power and efficiency, in some strange way, it is tied to our own openness and acceptance.

       If we don’t seem to get anything out of Sunday Mass, perhaps it’s because we didn’t bring any contribution to it. Perhaps we merely “attended” the Mass, ill prepared and distracted at that. We may have “heard” the liturgical readings but didn’t “listen” to the Word.

       May God’s powerful Word enter our eyes and ears, proceed into our minds and hearts, and then come out of our lips and our hands as we share it with others — most especially through our lives. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What kind of soil are you? Has the Word of God taken root in your life? Are you sharing it with others through your life’s witness?
May I always be good soil where Your Word can grow richly, spreading it wherever I go and to whomever I encounter.

St. Henry II, pray for us.

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