HOMILY FOR THE 15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A.
THEME: The Patient Sower.
BY: Fr. Gerald M. Musa.
Gambo grew up in a village where the majority of the people planted different crops. He spent most of his years going to the farm with his parents and siblings. Gambo is always fascinated by seeing seeds sprouting into plants. He had the opportunity of travelling to another region in his country together with his father to sell their farm products after harvest. There he saw some strange beautiful seeds sold in the market. He convinced his father to buy some of the seed so they can plant it when they return to their village. Soon after they returned, he prepared a special pot and filled it with soil and planted the seed therein. He watered the seed, nurtured it, showered it with love and care and looked forward to seeing it grow. The seed showed no sign of growth even after many days, weeks, and months. Gambo did all he could to protect what he planted from harsh weather and seed-eating ants. He refused to give up hope. In the seventh month, Gambo woke up and observed that there was a sign of life in the seed as it sprouted. His eyes beamed with joy as he danced around the pot singing. Afterwards, the plant grew faster and became an astonishing tree that beautified the area. Everyone marvelled at how that insignificant-looking seed could transform into such a magnificent tree. The flowers from the tree were enchanting, the leaves very colourful, and emitting sweet fragrance. The villagers praised Gambo for his patience, his care, unwavering dedication, and faith in waiting for the seed to turn into a tree. Gambo’s seed inspired people to invest their time and energy into nurturing their own seeds of hope, dreams and aspiration. They came to believe that with patience, care and dedication, even the tiniest, insignificant, and ordinary seed can grow into something extraordinary. The Chinese Bamboo takes a period of five years to grow. Usually, after tilling the soil, planting and fertilizing nothing appears on the surface of the earth until the fifth year.
Wise people say “A patient man will eat ripe fruit.” The people of Israel who were in exile were impatient and were beginning to doubt the power of the Word of God. The prophet Isaiah spoke in God’s name assuring the people of God’s promises. He compares the power of the word of God to the rain and snow, which waters the earth and makes it yield and give growth (Isaiah 55:10). St. Paul also lived in a situation where there was chaos, sorrows, tears, violence and conflict. He offers his readers hope and assurance that all these evils will soon be over and God will fulfil his promises to his people. Indirectly, the Apostle Paul reassures his listeners that the suffering that they undergo in making the seed of the word grow in their earthly lives is nothing compared with the glory of the harvest in the life to come (Romans 8:18).
Jesus observes people’s different attitudes towards listening and nurturing God’s word. He narrated a story about a farmer who went out to plant seeds. Some of these seeds fell on the paths, others on rocky grounds and thorns; some other seeds fell on rich soil. In the parable of the sower, Jesus was holding out a mirror for us to see ourselves. Jesus tells the parable of the seed and the sower to illustrate how different hearts respond to the word of God. At different points in life, our hearts were like the path, the rocky grounds, the thorns and the rich soil in which the seed was planted. At one time, we become active, yielding rich fruits, at another time, we become cold towards the word of God; at other times, we find ourselves distracted by mundane things and our hearts fixed on material things – becoming material men and women. We remain stable and faithful in keeping the word only a few times. We are always amazed and inspired by people whose life is very productive – these are people who have passed through turbulent waters and have been tormented by many troubles in the world and still remain steadfast. They keep moving on, believing firmly and holding on to the word and promises of God. The fertile soil that yields a rich harvest represents those who hear the word comprehend it (understand it), believe it and translate it into their daily life. They make the word real, alive and active.
In some ways, we are all farmers and so we can identify with the sower who went out to sow seeds. We are all farmers in the sense that we are constantly planting for our future, planting for our health, planting for our children, planting for our welfare and planting seeds of kindness. When we set out to work in the morning, we are going out to plant a seed, which comes out in the form of remuneration, salaries, wages, job fulfilment, harvest and results that we receive afterwards. There are seeds, which we have planted that have yielded abundant harvest and there are seeds we have planted that produced little or no good harvest. In some cases, life affords us the opportunity to replant and at other times, the opportunity to plant only comes once.
Two of the difficulties we have are a lack of adequate preparations before planting the seed and the lack of patience to wait for the seed to grow naturally and according to God’s ways. Just as preparation is important in every aspect of life, so it is in farming and that is why conventional wisdom says, “To plant asparagus, dig a ditch three years ago.” We expect rapid results after planting because we want to make quick profits, but due process is almost always too long because our patience easily grows thin. Planting the seed of goodness in a world full of evil is not an easy task, neither is it easy to plant the seed of love, peace, kindness and joy in a world full of hatred, conflicts, wickedness and sorrows.
Furthermore, the seed is the word of God that is spread everywhere, and only those who have ears listen and bear fruit from this seed. The seed is the word and the heart is the soil on which the word is planted, and listening is the process by which the seed is planted into the heart. In communication studies, we learn about different listening styles. Among these styles are informational listening style in which our primary goal is to gather information, critical listening in which we analyse what we hear, and appreciative listening is when appreciate the information we gather. We are always searching for creative speakers and preachers but it is also time that we become creative listeners who listen attentively and with an open heart to the Word of God and make the best out of the little that we can get. To be a true disciple of Jesus is to make the word of God effective, fruitful, creative, alive and active in our daily life.
© Fr. Gerald Musa; 15th Sunday of the Year A; Isaiah 55:10-11; Matthew 13:1-23
FOR MORE HOMILIES CLICK >>>>>