Gospel Reflection for the 15th Sunday in Time

God’s Word (from my book ‘A Shepherd’s Voice’, 2007)

In the gospels, Jesus spoke in parables. Parables are simple stories from everyday life that teach the people about God‘s Kingdom and the Kingdom values that will lead us to eternal life. Why did Jesus teach in parables? First, parables attracted people‘s attention. These stories made them think and were easy to remember. Second, the parables also touched people‘s hearts. The stories were rooted from the daily experiences of people during Jesus‘ time.

The gospel parable of the sower is a homily in itself. The parable not only narrates the story of what happens to the seeds which a sower sows on the ground, but also the symbolism of the seed as the Word of God and the soil as the different types of hearers who receive and respond to God‘s Word. Some spiritual writers call this the parable of the soil rather than the parable of the sower because Jesus‘ explanation focuses on the different kinds of people who hear the Word of God.

Yet one constant in this parable worth reflecting on, is the Word of God. The Bible is God‘s Word. It has been said that there are three characteristics of the Word of God. The first is that it is informative. The Bible informs us about God and his ways. Whenever we read scripture, we get to know who He really is and how He works. The second is that it is communicative. Whenever we read the Bible, God dialogues with us. There is a two-way communication that takes place between God and us. We experience God speaking to us in the words we read and reflect on. He touches our hearts with His holy words and we are led to pray to Him. The third characteristic is that it is transformative. The Bible teaches us values we are called to live out. God‘s Word must be efficacious in the sense that it transforms us to become better persons. The transforming power of God‘s Word enables us to become good news for others. Jesus is the Word made flesh Who made His dwelling among us. We should also be ‘word made flesh’, transformed because God‘s Word has touched our lives.

What type of soil are we? Do we take God‘s Word seriously? Are we both hearers and doers of the Word?

Let us heed the wise words of St. Jerome: “A man who is well grounded in the testimonies of the Scripture is the bulwark of the Church.” (Ronald de Sola Chervin, Quotable Saints, p. 84)

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