Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Our readings for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary time cause us to reflect on the power of God’s Word, a word that Isaiah proclaims “shall not return to [God] void,” for it shall do God’s will, “achieving the end for which I sent it.” That truly sounds wonderful, but the reality of the incarnation causes us to pause and recognize that nothing is automatic. The revelation of God’s Son, Jesus, is the quintessential reminder that as powerful as God’s word is, it is still dependent on the hearts and minds of those who receive God’s word and who allow it to take root in them.
The thirty-three year earthly journey of God’s Word, Jesus, demonstrates that God needs the cooperation of those who hear God’s word. In spite of Jesus sharing himself fully with people during his earthly ministry, there were many who were unmoved, so unmoved that they put Jesus on a cross and crucified him. With Jesus’ resurrection and the sharing of the Holy Spirit so many hearts were finally able to realize who this itinerant preacher truly was, and it was to them that Jesus entrusted his ministry. It is because of this human connection that Jesus chose to share the parable of the sower with his listeners.
It might be better to call the parable, the parable of the soils, for that is where our attention is meant to be drawn. It is because Jesus knew human nature so well that he recognized that there were a variety of soils, and not all of them were “rich” and ready to receive the seed that he desired to implant in all human hearts. Indeed, the parable is not meant to be critical of the various soils; Jesus is just call calling it as he sees it! Jesus no doubt shared this agricultural parable so that we might want to be the rich soil that would be productive and fruitful, yielding “a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” In truth, our lives are often a combination of soils, sometimes “path” like, sometimes being choked by “weeds.” But it doesn’t take a farmer’s instinct to understand that the richer the soil the more fruitful that soil is likely to be. May we nurture and cultivate the soil of our hearts, that with God’s grace our lives will be fruitful, continuing the redemption begun by our teacher, our friend, our companion, our loving Lord, Jesus.