July 12th Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Introduction

Today we have the beautiful parable of the sower. Lets pray that the seed of God’s word that is sown among us, as we listen devoutly to our readings, may bear fruit in abundance in our lives. And lets confess any ways we neglect the scriptures..

Homily

Today’s parable reminds me of sowing potatoes when I was young. We cut them into scallions, each seed had one eye. Then we opened drills, lined them with farmyard manure, and placed the scallions 3 feet apart. It was hard work but worth it. In the summer the new potatoes tasted like heaven, eaten with fresh new cabbage and bacon. Christ must’ve been thinking of such experiences when he told the parable of the sower. No doubt he’d sowed and reaped many crops with his relatives. He preached among country people whose lives were a round of sowings and harvests.

Nowadays people get new potatoes from Cyprus in Supermarkets. But many still keep flower gardens and lawns and see the fruits of their sowing. Christ was talking of a different harvest, however. His seed was God’s Word, the message of salvation he preached. Each of us hears that still in scripture read here. and we need that spiritual nourishment for, like crops, our salvation is a growing plant. We receive its seed at baptism and the holy Spirit to nourish it. But the manure that makes it bear fruit is Christ’s Word, Communion, mass, sacrament, prayer and living charity. And the harvest is a holiness of life until we gain the greater harvest of all with all the saints on the last day.

But there’s a warning for us in the parable. Despite the work of priests, teachers and parents in preparing the soil and sowing the seed of faith it may not to bear fruit in all. Ravenous birds of secularism and worldliness may pick it out of many hearts before it flowers. Paul says of ruiners of the faith in his day: “they fight against God and his Christ”. That’s true in every age. Satan also has his prophets who try to persuade us to remove the seed of eternal life from our hearts. So that we’ll come before God at judgement empty and soulless, and leave many others without faith. For our sowing and harvest is for others too.

I’m reminded of a story about a man who abandoned the faith after he left his country. Later in life he came back to the church. The priest receiving him pointed out the damage he’d done in the meantime. Because of him, his children, their spouses and children, and descendants for generations may have no faith. So keeping faith alive in us is vital for future generations. And we won’t keep it unless we water its roots constantly by prayer, the mass, the sacraments and living charity. People who say I believe but don’t need worship and practice are deluding themselves.

In less than a generation unpracticed faith will wither like neglected seeds. Without the nourishment of the eucharistic sun, the water of the Word, and the manure of prayer it will surely die. Lacking depth, its will inevitably be blown away by the Evil One’s storms, or choked by the cares, worries, pleasures and riches of the world. So the parable is a warning for today; the seed of God in us must be even more carefully nourished now when faith is under attack. We must work all the harder to build up our souls in an increasingly secular world if we’re to be with the saints to enjoy the final harvest, the great hundredfold. For on the last day all else will fade to dust and ashes but the faithful will be one with Christ, lord of goodness, happiness, peace and salvation for this world and forever and ever amen….

So as Gods people nourishing and deepening our faith in order to yield a hundredfold for God, ourselves and others unto the eternal reward of the just, lets profess our faith proudly..

Prayers of the faithful

As God’s people, nourishing the seed of faith by our worship, we pray for our faithfulness, and that of all the baptized…

For our church leaders that they may nourish the seed of faith in those in their care, and spread the saving Word and eucharistic Presence of Christ unto a rich harvest for the whole world..

For civic leaders that they may promote freedom of religion and place no obstacles in the way of God’s people..

For ourselves that we may not be so caught up in the cares of life and pursuit of wealth as to neglect the precious seed of faith within our hearts, the life of our souls..

For our youth that they may listen to God’s voice and that of his Christ rather than the voices of the world the flesh and the devil, and so nourish their souls for deeper happiness here and hereafter..

For the sick that through our love and care they may know and experience the deep love and care of God and his Christ…

For the dead, through our powerful communal prayers here may they may come quickly to the glorious harvest of eternal life..

And we ask this through Christ who constantly intercedes for us before the father in heaven, amen.

Reflection:

When young we learned the story of Seadhna, an Irish version of Faust. He sells his soul to Satan for a life of wealth, power and pleasure. As he ages and time flies he realizes he’s made a very bad bargain. In an Irish variation on the story, Seadhna is saved by Mother Mary at the last. Many make the same mistake today. Lured by secular values they kill the seed of faith within, making wealth, worldly success and pleasure their god. They ride to false glory over the corpses of God, others and their souls. The terrible secular totalitarian dictators of our era are cases in point. Lets have the wisdom to avoid that trap..Hail Mary.