15th Sunday in Ordinary Time | Year A

Posted on July 14, 2023 View all Gospel Reflection

The seed that fell on the path, which the birds ate up, is the evil once snatching away the word of the kingdom before one can understand it.  Hard hearts hardened by sin and foolish and hurtful desires, so the message of salvation makes no impression or is dismissed.

St. John Chrysostom is careful to point out that God neither imposes his will nor his gifts on those unwilling to receive them… Chrysostom makes an important observation by insisting that the inability to receive and comprehend has no link to the power of hearing and sight. Indeed, as Chrysostom points out, if the deficiency in comprehending rested in impeded hearing and sight, then God would be obliged to correct the malady. But since the disability was voluntary and of one’s own choosing, Jesus “does not simply say ‘they do not see,’ but ‘seeing they do not see,’ so that the disability (i.e., the blindness and deafness) is of their own wickedness.”1

Say this prayer written by seminarians: “Jesus, come into my life. Reveal yourself to me. Free me from my sins and lead me to the truth. Reveal to me your mercy in the power of your resurrection. Lord Jesus Christ, prove to me your love and lead me to everlasting life.” 2

Jesus explicitly says this class of persons are without understanding. Head knowledge is important, but it is only when we have the proper understanding that we can make the proper application to our lives. That is why devotional Bible reading in private is so important or at least praying over the Readings before Sunday Mass like the Missioneros de Jesús do in Hannan Hall each Saturday afternoon at 5 PM.

Regarding the rocky ground— in professional baseball, coaches talk about the “morning-glory” syndrome. Morning-glories are called morning-glories because they unfold into full bloom in the early morning. Then they start to fade.  So, this name, morning-glory, is given to young recruits in professional baseball who perform marvelously in spring practice in Florida or Arizona but then as they travel north and experience the lengthy baseball season, they begin to wilt like a morning-glory flower. By June their batting average drops to an unacceptable level. And by July they are released from their team.3

Seed that falls on rocky soil is like that. It may take root initially but because it doesn’t get the nutrition it needs it eventually wilts and dies.

The thorns represent one hearing the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke it and it bears no fruit.

The catechism tells us of the moral neutrality of our feelings. Yet we don’t worship our feelings. They are guided by moral truth and our will so we can direct our feelings to good when they are unruly.

To stop chronic worry, our Gospel is telling us to start daily Scripture readings and to give Scripture authority in our lives. As Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

The harvest bore fruit in staggering proportions. One-hundred-fold or sixty or thirty percent increase is huge. “The average yield for grain sown in Palestine seems to have been between seven- and fifteen-fold … , but Genesis 26:12 has a yield figure of one-hundred,” which represents the blessing of God.4

 This also indicates clearly that even in the fruit-bearing hearers of the word there are gradations.

1. Robert M. Arida, Hearing, Receiving and Entering TO MYSTĒRION/ TA MYSTĒRIA: Patristic Insights Unveiling the Crux Interpretum (Isaiah 6:9-10) of the Sower Parable, St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, 38:2 1994, p.230

2.Rev. Thomas Cavanaugh and John D. Love, “How to win friends for Christ one conversation at a time.”

3. Dr. Daniel Lioy, Tarbell’s Lesson Commentary, Colorado Springs, Cook Communications.

4. Ruth Ann Foster, William D. Shiell, The Parable of the Sower and the Seed in Luke 8:1-10: Jesus’ Parable of Parables, Review & Expositor, 94 no 2 Spr 1997, p.263