Tìm Kiếm

14 tháng 7, 2014

Homily for the 15th Sunday In Prdinary Time (July 13, 2014)

(The Sower Mt 13, 1-9, 18-23)

The word of God is like the grains which are sown in the soil. It depends on what type of soil in which the grains are sown that they bear fruit. In other words, their productivity depends mostly on the condition of the soil that receives them.

First, there are grains which fall on the wayside and the birds of the sky come and eat them. Here, Jesus Christ refers to those who listen to the word of God without understanding it, and the devil comes and steals it from their heart. Others fall on rocky ground, they spring up at once; but since rocky ground does not have much earth, the sun will burn them and they will die due to lack of root. Jesus Christ talks about those listening to the word of God with great joy, but having no roots, they easily fall away when trouble comes. We may call these superficial believers, that is, believers without deep faith.

Still other grains fall among thorns, the thorns grow rapidly and choke them up in no time. These are people willing to listen to the word of God, but who are filled with worries and ambitions of the world, and so attracted by the lure of wealth and money. The word of God is soon suffocated by these worries long before it has a chance to grow and bear fruit.

Fortunately, however, there are also grains which fall on good soil, they take root, grow up and produce new grains, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. These are listeners who listen to the word of God, understand it and live it to its fulness. These are good people who, not only listen to the word of God, but also practice it in their daily lives, knowing that “faith without deed is a dead faith” (James 2, 17)

It follows, therefore, the same word of God is heard by many people, but how much they benefit from it depends upon how they hear, receive, absorb and digest it. For those who hear the word of God simply for the sake of hearing without realizing it in their lives, or they listen to the word of God out of curiosity, or just to find out something to criticize, as in the case of the Pharisees, then the word of God will, certainly, not bring them any good result.

Only those who listen to the word of God with determination to reform, to change their lives for the better, in accordance with the will of God, will benefit from it and bear good fruit. This determination often demands the listeners to make sacrifices, to give up something for the sake of God’s Kingdom. Without this determination, sheer goodwill alone would be meaningless.

One day, a young man approached Jesus and asked him : ” Master, what good work must I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus answered : “ Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your parents and love your neighbor as youself.” The young man said proudly : “ I have kept all these commandmends since my childhood. Do I still lack anything?” Jesus answered, “ If you wish to be perfect, go and sell all that you possess and give to the poor. Then come back and follow me.” On hearing this, the young man went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth. (Mt 19, 19-22). This young man had more than goodwill to do good, but what he lacked was the determination, the readiness to make sacrifice, to give up his wealth for the sake of God.

My dear brothers and sisters,

How do we listen to the word of God and how have we reacted to it should be a matter for our reflection and self-examination. Listening to the word of God alone does not mean anything. What is more impotant is that we hear the word of God, and are ready to make sacrifices, even to the point of changing our way of thinking and our way of life as well.

Fr. Joseph Nguyen, O.P.