Homily 15th Sunday of Year A: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo· Isa 55:10-11
· Ps 65:10-14
· Rom 8:18-23
· Matthew 13:1-23
The Word of God that Nourishes Us
Today we celebrate the Word of God, verbum domini that nourishes us, that transforms us, when we read it, when listen to it, when we preach it, when we sing it, when we receive in in the Holy Communion, and when we live it positively in our daily lives. And going by the readings of today, Jesus, God’s incarnate is this Word of God.Throughout the course of his ministry, this God’s Incarnate, Jesus, loves speaking in parables, because he loves simplicity. He speaks in parable to drive home his points in a manner understandable to his brothers and sisters; to his listeners who were men and women like us, who were children and adult like us, who were rich and poor like us, who were learned and some without a college degrees like some of us today. These parabolic teachings of Jesus will continue in the next couple of Sundays ahead!
But, as for today’s Gospel parable, Matthew 13, in it, the Word of God, the love of God, the commandments of God, the values of God, the promises of God have been sown as a seed in our hearts, in various soils of our hearts. There are 4 different soils, representing 4 different hearts of the baptized. The first 3 are not hospitable, accommodative, approachable or fertile enough to host the Word of God, the love of God, his mercy, his kindness and his forgiveness. They represent anxieties, worries, tribulations, jealousies, anger, hatred, distrust of divine providence, disobedience and all kinds of temptations with anti-Christ’ sentiments of this world.The 4th soil represents those who hear, read, preach, teach and live the Word of God, listen to it a 30 fold, who understands it a 60 fold, and obeys it and puts into fruitful practice of love, mercy, forgiveness, patience and love of God and ones’ neighbors, a 100 hundred fold, no matter where they come from, or look like.
Don’t forget the 4th soil also represents those who endure sufferings and hope in the Lord. This is where we find a very strong link between the Gospel and the first reading of today, Isaiah 55, known also as the Book of Consolation. Though originally addressed to the exiles who would return from Babylon to Judah ... in their scarcity of lack of food and water and defenselessness God out of his mercy will provide all their needs against their enemies. Like the rain and snow provided by God to water and irrigates the fields of ancient Israel, God will surely see us through our present day challenges.What are your challenges if we may ask? Are there lack of faith, loss of our loved ones, worries about our future, our health, jobs, insurances, social security, our children, our retirement benefits and our homes ….Paul in that 2nd reading, who is convinced of the promises of Christ, insists on Christ’s messages of hope and openness to the Word of God, that “the sufferings of this present time is nothing compared to the glory of the Lord to be revealed to us.”
Paul says, just as all creation groan with labor pains, let us bear our suffering patiently, knowing that our redemption is near at hand. In other, words, May we continue to read the word of God everyday starting with prayer to understand and live the word of God. May we continue to listen to the word of God as read and preached in the church during weekday and Sunday Masses, by our priests and pastors. May we continue to listen to our parents and experience elders, and daily ask for God’s special grace to remove all types of road blocks, worries, confusions and burdens of un-repented sins that hinders the word God from touching our hearts and transforming us, our children and our society.Finally, “the parable of the sower challenges us to see how deeply the word of God has taken root in our lives, how central God is to the very fabric of our day-to-day life. And how kind and forgiving we are to one another." Still, in the Spirit of Pope Francis, our humblest offers of help to anyone in need may be the seeds that fall on that good soil, on that 4th soil, and yield an abundant harvest of 30-60 and a100 folds.