Shikrot Mpwi – Sunday Synopsis with Fr. Justine J. Dyikuk
15th Sunday of the Year, A – July 16, 2023
Readings: Is. 55:-10-11; Responsorial Psalm Ps 64:10-14(R.1); Rom 8:18-23 & Gospel Matthew 13:1-23.
Theme: Being Doers of the Word!
In the first reading, the Prophet Isaiah reveals how the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and does not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the Sower and bread for the eating. In the second reading St. Paul reveals that what we face in this life is nothing compared to the glory which awaits us. The Parable of the Sower reveals how a Sower went out to sow and some seeds fell along the path on hard soil, others fell on rocky soil, some on thorns and still, others on good soil which produced its fruits. We are challenged to allow the Word of God produce abundant fruits in our lives.
Friends in Christ, today we are presented with the Parable of the Sower otherwise known as the Parable of the Four Soils. The Penny Catechism defines a parable as “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” Jesus often used parables to teach the values of the kingdom. This is because he wanted to communicate with his audience in a manner they would understand. The Parable of the Sower is found in Matthew 13:3-9; Mark 4:2-9 and Luke 8:4-8 while its interpretation is given in Matthew 13:18-23; Mark 4:13-20 and Luke 8:11-15. Titled “Being Doers of the Word,” our reflection urges us to be doers of the Word, not only hearers.”
Summary and Background of the Readings
In the first reading (Is. 55:-10-11), the Prophet Isaiah reveals how the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and does not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the Sower and bread for the eating. It reveals how the Word which goes forth from the mouth of the Lord does not return to Him empty without carrying out His will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.
In the second reading (Rom. 8:18-23), St. Paul reveals that what we face in this life is nothing compared to the glory which awaits us. He further discloses that creation is groaning in expectation of when it would give birth as we wait for our bodies to be set free. It encourages us to hold our heads high as we await our redemption.
The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23) discloses a Sower went out to sow and some seeds along the path on hard soil, others on rocky soil, some on thorns and still, others on good soil which produced seeds of 30, 60 and a 100 fold. Accordingly, Jesus’ explanation of the parable highlights four different responses to the gospel. It is crucial to note that the Seed is “the Word of the Kingdom.”
Jesus speaks to the heart of our reception of God’s Word which is often determined by the condition of our hearts. It also calls us to understand that salvation goes beyond hearing the Word and deceiving ourselves. On the contrary, it urges us to transcend the superficial delight of hearing the gospel to allowing it make fruits in our lives.
1. Understand the Word: Since the hard ground represents those who are hardened by sin because they hear the Word but do not understand it and that is why the devil steals the message from their hearts, we are urged to seek a true understanding of the Word of God in order that the devil might dull our hearts and prevent it from making any reasonable impact in their lives.
2. Reawaken Your Conscience: All hardened sinners especially those whose who have made their hearts a shopping mall for Satan should ask the Holy Spirit to assist them in reawakening their dead consciences so that as soon as they hear the Word of the Kingdom, the evil one would not snatch it away from their hearts.
3. Resist being Soft Targets for the Devil: Those involved in ritual killing, occultic movements as well as other dubious activities in order to make it in life should realise that if they harden their hearts to hearing the Word and putting it into practice, they would forever remain soft targets for the devil.
4. Beware of Troubles: Because the stony ground represents supposed followers of Christ who profess the Word happily but it doesn’t change their hearts, Christians should beware of trials, tribulations and temptations otherwise, when troubles arise, their so-called faith would vanish quickly without practical impact in daily lives.
5. Pray for Lapsed Christians: We are urged to pray for lapsed or former Catholics who were high ranking officers in the Church and often delighted at the reception of the Sacraments but are now cold in the faith, have left the Church or are counter-witnessing so that the Lord of the harvest may restore them to the fold.
1. In the first reading, the Prophet Isaiah reveals how the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and does not return without watering the earth.
2. In the second reading, St. Paul reveals that what we face in this life is nothing compared to the glory which awaits us.
3. He further discloses that creation is groaning in expectation of when it would give birth.
4. Jesus’ explanation of the Parable of the Sower highlights four different responses to the gospel.
5. It is crucial to note that the Seed is “the Word of the Kingdom.”
That the good soil and produces seeds of 30, 60 and a 100 fold justifies the saying: “If you want to get to heaven, aim at the stars.” As expressed earlier, like the good soil which represents those who hear, understand and keep the Word, we are encouraged to allow the Word to accomplish its results in our lives through both verbal and actionable witnessing. After all, the bible says: “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 3:7-8; 7:15-20). May God help us grow in faith, in a manner that our lives would be the “good soil,” which will reap fruits – a hundredfold. Amen