FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
HOMILY THEME: Fruitfulness, a sign of a successful Christian Life.
BY: Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE
May the seeds of the Word of God in us never be suffocated by the constantly roaming forces of darkness but rather bear the desired fruits for which they were sown; Amen.
In the Gospels, sometimes, Jesus taught his apostles and all his followers with the help of parables. In Scripture, a parable “is a short story whose purpose is to explain a difficult concept with a simpler one or to teach a moral lesson.” In the Gospel of today’s Liturgy (Mt 13:1-23), we listened to one of the parables of Jesus to his apostles and followers about a sower who went out to sow his seeds. Going through the lines of this parable, we notice four things at the heart of the story. First is the sower who came out to sow; second are the seeds that the sower went out to sow; third are the places on which the seeds fell; and fourth are the things that damage the seeds when they fall onto the wrong places. The significance of these four things is very important for our understanding of this parable, because they are the keys to a proper comprehension of it.
In this parable, the Sower here signifies God who “in many and various ways spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets but in these last days He has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world” (Heb 1:1-2), Jesus Christ, whom he sent to die on the cross for our salvation. The seeds mean the word of God that always comes to us, from scripture, from the Church during the celebration of the mysteries of our salvation and also during the proclamation of the Word of God, from the testimony of our brothers and sisters, either as priests or as religious or as lay persons. The places on which the seeds fell on mean our hearts, because the seeds of the word of God daily fall on our hearts. The things that hinder the seeds are those things that make our hearts unstable and uninhabitable for the word of God.
As Jesus in this parable lists four types of places, each place represents a kind of the heart. Each of us at every instance has one of the four types of hearts that Jesus represented through these four places. The fruitfulness of the Word of God in our lives depends on the kind of heart that we have formed in ourselves. One can bear the fruits that come from the word of God only when one has a receptive heart to the word of God as the good soil, which is fertile to make the seed of the Word of God germinate. These fruits that we must bring forth are the very things that make us true Christians. The fruit of love; the fruit of peace in our families, in the Church, in our communities and in the world; the fruit of forgiveness for those who have wounded us; the fruit of being a bearer of joy and happiness to others; etc.
We must know that before we can bear these fruits, our hearts must be fertile for the seed of the word of God, because without this seed, we cannot bear fruits. Also, without the preparation of our hearts for God, the only true Sower who continues to sow His seed in us, we unfortunately become either the first or the second or the third place. We become unstable and infertile to contain the strength, the power and the grace of the seed of the word of God; and finally we are deprived of the seed; hence, we cannot bear fruit.
The very important question for today is this; what kind of heart have I prepared for God in which He can sow the seed of his word?
May God make our hearts fertile and stable habitations of the seeds of His Word and from within these hearts of ours bring forth fruits that can change the world and make is a better place. Happy Sunday.