15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

As I gaze across the street or drive the roads around the parish campus, I am always reminded of the abundance of God’s blessings. The corn stalks tower over my head and the harvest appears abundant. The Gospel passage today reminds me of my trip to Israel a few years ago. I was there in June and I was able to go out onto the Sea of Galilee in a boat that was launched from the north shore, near Capernaum. Sitting on that boat and looking northward one could see, within one’s field of vision, many of the places where Jesus ministered and lived. High on the hills behind the coastal villages are fields and orchards. In June, one can see the abundant crops that are growing and ripening there.

Today’s Gospel passage is a good reminder of the mystery of God and His grace at work in our lives. The seed is planted in many places – the sower sows generously. But the soil is not equally ready to receive and nurture the seed. In some places the seed never takes root. In other places it takes root but dies out quickly under the heat. In still other places the weeds choke out the plant. But in some places, the places where the soil has been tilled and softened, and where sufficient water is available, the seed takes root and bears fruit thirty, sixty or a hundredfold. From the Sea of Galilee, one can see the fields that are flourishing and those that are barren. What a mystery of God’s handiwork!

Jesus uses this agricultural image to talk about something far more important… the growth of divine life in our souls. Our hearts are the places where the seed of God’s word is first sowed. The sower is Jesus and he sows the word through members of His Church: our parents, grandparents or godparents, through friends, neighbors or people at our parish. But, for the plant to grow several things are needed. First, the seed must be sown. Nothing will grow if the seed is not sown. Second, the soil must be properly prepared. Every farmer knows that crops will not thrive amidst rocks or an overgrowth of weeds. Lastly, water and sunlight are needed to nurture the plant’s growth. We depend on God to provide the water and sunlight, but it is up to the farmer to prepare the soil and sow the seed.

My friends, we are the farmers. Our parish is the farming community that must prepare the soil and sow the seed of God’s word. The family is the first field that the soil of people’s hearts is prepared to be receptive. The implements of faith, hope and love, as well as practices of self-discipline help prepare the soil of children’s hearts to be receptive to the word of God. The seed is sown by word, but even more by example, by the way we live. A life formed by the word of God is constantly tossing out seeds that land on the soil of people’s hearts. We cannot control the rains or the sunlight, but we can till the soil and sow the seed. In fact, we must do that if we expect the plant to grow.

"But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear."

I pray that God’s Spirit anoints every household in Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish so that the Word of God might be richly sown there and that the hearts of all, especially our children, will be made receptive to the seed of God’s word. My God’s grace may those hearts bear fruit in great abundance.

Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,

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