15th Sunday OT Year A

Beloved brothers and sisters, our Lord Jesus Christ is the Sower who generously scatters the seed of God’s word. As St. Jerome said, God’s word is seed sown in fertile soil, yielding abundant harvest. Yet as Jesus’ parable shows, the soil’s condition matters greatly.

Why parables? St. John Chrysostom noted Jesus taught parables to engage people face-to-face, meeting them where they were. As St. Jerome explained, Jesus used everyday stories to draw people deeper in understanding.

The hard path represents those shutting out God’s word entirely. As St. Jerome lamented, the stubbornly unwilling perceive parables as riddles, not revelation. Let us pray for receptive hearts and spirits to receive God’s wisdom. How tragic to spurn life-giving teaching! We must guard against creeping hardness of heart over time. Worldly clamor and clinging to sin cement resistance if we’re not careful. But take heart! It’s not too late to let God soften hardened ground through repentance. By God’s grace the fallow fields of the soul can nourish new growth again.

The rocky ground depicts those receiving the word joyfully then falling away when afflicted. As St. Jerome observed, some deny Christ immediately under trial, while others persevere longer before succumbing. Let us examine if our faith has deep roots or merely shrivels in suffering. God allows testing to reveal shallowness. We must strive to establish foundations in prayer, Scripture, and sacraments before storms arise. Anchored in Christ alone, we can weather turbulence. As we meditate on God’s word, we sink roots deep into His love. Grounded in grace, we will blossom again after drought.

The thorny soil represents those choked by worldly anxieties and wealth-seeking. As St. Jerome connected to Adam’s curse, thorns signify constant distractions ensnaring us. In our consumerist culture, materialism, status and fleeting pleasures absorb us yet leave us empty. We clutter lives with possessions then wonder why we cannot hear God. Let us continually re-orient first towards heavenly treasures. Serving God and others should take precedence over chasing things that decay. As St. Cyprian urged, come to Christ without requiring riches. Simpler living and generosity of spirit make room for God’s kingdom.

Finally, as Origen related, good soil produces abundant righteous fruit. Our glory differs like the sun, moon and stars, said St. Paul. But first, the seed must bear fruit now through lives of service.

Therefore, beloved, let us have listening ears, understanding minds and willing spirits so God’s word may thrive within us. By the Spirit’s rain, may we cultivate a bountiful harvest for God’s glory.

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