Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
Do you believe in the power of the Word of God? Do you believe the Word of God can do miracles in your daily life? Do you believe the Word of God has the power to transform your life? Do you believe that the Gospel we hear is Jesus Himself, for he is the Word of God? Pay attention to what is said in the first reading. “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 the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11) Each time we open the Bible and read it; each time you listen to the scripture in the church and listen to the homily it is God’s Word spoken to you. It comes out of the mouth of God and it comes to you with a purpose to renew and give you strength. Do you believe it?
Today’s readings are about the transforming power of the Word of God when it is read, preached and lived. They also warn us not to be disappointed at the absence of immediate results. We must take a positive and optimistic view of our missionary efforts as we keep on bearing witness to Christ’s Gospel. The parable of the sower in today’s Gospel challenges us to listen intently to God’s Word, to be open to it and to shape our lives by its power. The parable reminds us that man’s reception of God’s Word is determined by the condition of his heart. Today’s Gospel teaches us that word of the Lord is the seed, our hearts and minds are the soil. The good spiritual yield in life depends on how much a person willingly accepts and responds to the word of the Lord. The yield arising from the positive response will be abundant beyond all imagination. The parable tells us to do our part by preparing fertile soil in our hearts for the Word of God to germinate, grow and yield 30-, 60-, or 100-fold. Outstanding among the heroic founders of the United States was Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). Printer, author, publisher, inventor, scientist, businessman, thinker, statesman and diplomat, Franklin was a great blessing to the U.S and to humanity. One day he received a gift of a whisk-broom from India. He noticed a few seeds fastened to wisps of the broom. Franklin planted them. When the first crop came up he distributed the seeds among his friends and neighbors. Their crops flourished. Thus, Franklin was responsible for introducing broom-corn into the American colonies and starting the American broom manufacturing industry. Today’s Gospel challenges us to do something like that, using the high yielding seeds of the word of God freely given to us. More than anything else we have to spread the Word of God through our lives by the way we live our Christian life. Bruce Larson tells about a young African woman who came to the U.S. from Angola. Her name was Maria and she was always laughing. One day she went to a meeting on ‘evangelism’ in her church where they were talking about pamphlets, missions, campaigns, etc. At one point, someone turned to Maria and said, “What do they do in your Church in Angola, Maria?” “In my Church,” said Maria, after a moment’s thought, “we don’t give pamphlets to people or have missions. We just send one or two Christian families to live in a village. And when people see what Christians are like, then they want to be Christians themselves.” [To Dance (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1972), p. 58].
The powerful word of God assimilated into lives is more powerful than its professional preaching. I think the challenge for each one of us is to make an examination of conscience asking these questions: Am I merely hearing God’s word without understanding it? Does God’s word meet with a hard heart in me? Am I too anxious about money, security, provision for retirement or old age? Is God’s word taking root in me? Converting me? Transforming me? What kind of soil are we? How do we respond to the Word of God and to the various Acts of God in our lives? Do we allow the trials and tribulations of this world to overwhelm the tender seed growing within us? Do we pull back when people harass us because we are believers? Do we allow the cares of this world, our ambitions or our desires for success and happiness, choke out the messages that God sends us through the various events of our daily lives and through the various people we encounter? How we respond to the Word of God is the key to how fruitful the Gospel is going to be in our lives. God allows the seed to land on the hard paths, on the rocky ground and in the thickets of our lives in the hope that in those places it will find a place to mature and bear fruit, that those things which impede growth will be removed and that the soil may be just a little deeper than it at first appears to be in those rocky places. Jesus challenges us in the parable of the sower to sow seeds of encouragement, joy and reconciliation regardless of the “soil” on which it is scattered, and to imitate the seed’s total giving of self that becomes the harvest of Gospel justice and mercy.
God Bless You,