Gospel Reflection July 16 – Kim VanHuffel

Sunday, July 16

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 13: 1-9


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:

“A sower went out to sow.

And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,

and birds came and ate it up.

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.

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.

Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

Gospel Reflection:

I included only the short version of this gospel reading. You may hear the entire passage at church this weekend. The reason is that in the longer one, Jesus gives us his own reflection on the parable. Who better to tell us what it means than Jesus himself (numbers added to correspond to my own thoughts below):

Matthew 13:18-23

”Hear then the parable of the sower.

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

4) 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.”

Remember, in this parable, the Word of God is the seed, and we have control over what type of reception (soil) we give that seed within us. 1) When we hear the Word of God, do we try to understand it? Do we ponder it and let it take root in our hearts? 2) How deep is our faith? Do we need lots of bells and whistles for our experience with God to be present? Or, do we persevere in our faith with discipline, not letting it fall away when times get tough or we get busy? 3) Do we prioritize our faith over wealth and power? 4) If we do these things — try to understand, persevere in, and prioritize our faith, we will receive the Word of God and be fruitful. Sr. Teresa recently said that many people identify with the bird in the story, taking the seed, eating it and flying to share it with others, and maybe even dropping some seed along the way for others, without even realizing it. Let us open our ears to God’s Word, let it take plant in our hearts, and let us share it with others!

Kim VanHuffel

Pastoral Associate