Reflection on Scripture Fifteenth Sunday Gospel A The Word of God

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Fifteenth Sunday Gospel Reflections A

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: 
· The parable was a favorite tool Jesus used to teach.  He would take ordinary, every day examples as a means to convey a particular point. He also at times used allegories. The main difference between the two literary forms is that the details of a parable usually had one point to make; whereas every detail of an allegory was important to the message.  Here, Jesus tells it as a parable: the fruitfulness of the seed sown on good soil equals the fruitfulness of the Kingdom of God.

"A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. 
· In Palestine in those days, the farmer would hand-scatter the seed first and then plough the ground. Thus, seed scattered so widely would fall also on ground that was not suitable for growth

Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots.
· Fields were not as neat as we may be accustomed to.  In any given field there would be footpaths, shallow soil over rocky terrain, not always completely cleared of weeds or brush.

Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. 
· The point which Jesus makes is that, though there will be some failure to properly respond because of opposition and indifference, the message of Jesus about the coming of the future kingdom will experience great success.

Whoever has ears ought to hear." The disciples approached him and said, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" He said to them in reply, "Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
· To understand a parable requires reflection. But since Jesus is revealing the deeper mystery of God’s plan, proper understanding comes from the grace of God to those who truly seek its meaning.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
· What does that say to me about how God does things?

This is why I speak to them in parables, because 'they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.' Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: 'You shall indeed hear but not understand you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.'
· When at times have we found ourselves in this position in the past?
 "But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
· When at times have we found ourselves in this position in the past or presnt?

"Hear then the parable of the sower.
· In giving an explanation of the different soils, Jesus adopts the parable to an allegory. Thus it is partially both a parable and an allegory.

The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. 
· Do we appropriate the Word of God we hear every Sunday or does the Word go in one ear and out the other and thus we never allow it to penetrate and convict us in the core of our being?  Good intentions are not enough.

The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away.
· Can we relate to this? What were those times we allowed difficulties and struggles dissipate an initial spiritual fervor we were having?

The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit.
· What have been the anxieties, concerns and distractions of material comforts that have taken our eyes off Jesus during our spiritual journey?

But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold." 
· In what ways has our own spiritual journey reflected the different soils in the parable and our response to God’s grace?
· What specific actions can I take to improve on the way I respond to God’s Word?
· If we substitute the idea of “love” for the “word” does that give us a better insight into the foolishness of God’s mercy towards us? Are we free to imitate that degree of foolishness in our relationship with others, especially if they don’t respond to our efforts towards them?

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