The 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 16, 2023
Lectionary ReadingsIsaiah 55:10-11Ps. 65:19-13Rom. 8:18-23Matt. 13:1-23
Theme: Look! Listen! And Learn!

The gospel reading for today from Matthew is the parable of ‘The Sower sowing the seed’ (13:3-9) which is in the other Synoptics, too. A parable is a story told by Jesus that keeps the listener transfixed until the last statement which is the message of the parable. All three Synoptic accounts have added the allegory which twists the parable into a forced interpretation. How does this parable end: “He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.” How do we listen to the Word of God? How should we listen to the Word of God?

     Our first reading from Isaiah describes the power of the Word of God. It cannot return empty: it brings forth fruit no matter how we may treat it. It penetrates our very beings: “Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.” (Heb.4:12-13)

     Paul, in his letter to the Romans brings all of creation together longing to be caught up in the Word of God – which is the will of God for all of us. This reminds me of the motto of Bat Kol taken from Exodus19:8: “All that the LORD has spoken, we will do.” – “We will hear and we will do.”

     The Psalm describes the Creator’s power over and goodness towards creation. We who hear the Word and do God’s will, shall be rewarded but if we do not listen to and do as the Word requires of us we shall suffer. God’s plans will always triumph and eventually turn out according to His Word.   

     In all the above readings for today there is a clear message from nature to follow the plans of God. The snow and rain return trees, fruit and other vegetation. Nature knows it belongs to God and rejoices at doing God’s will and being united to God. The seed will flourish if it is placed where it can flourish – not in alien areas. Nature works together and does not compete:

“The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
    the hills gird themselves with joy,
 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
    the valleys deck themselves with grain,
    they shout and sing together for joy.” (Vv. 12-13)

For Reflection and Discussion: 1. Do I allow nature to teach me God’s ways? How? Share in Havrutah how you have done this. 2. How can you teach children and youth to have a deep respect for all of God’s creation especially ‘our Common Earth’? 3. How about forming family groups to study “Laudato Si” so that this and future generations will learn from the earth rather than destroy it? NRSVACE

This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
 Bernadette Chellew, KZN, South Africa. Bat Kol Alumna 2008


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