People with eyes closed in church

Sunday Soundbite for July 16, 2023

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A
July 16, 2023

For many years I’ve worked at a parish that draws its members in part from a rural, farming area. Folks who work on a farm usually attend our earliest Sunday Mass. They’re a fascinating congregation to work with. I’m only guessing, but I wonder if their openness to the word of God has anything to do with their connection to the earth. The cycle of growing, the passage of seasons, the risks of planting crops—all these activities teach a lot about life.

Perhaps that’s why the Scriptures use farming images so frequently. Today’s First Reading describes the fertility of the word of God. It bears fruit, watered by rain and snow. In the Gospel Jesus tells the famous parable of sower and seed to describe how the word comes to people and how they receive it.

I wonder how my parishioners who labor with seed and soil will hear these Scriptures this season? Will they caution me to let go of my fears about ministry, and trust in the fruitful working of God’s word? Will they remind me to be tolerant of myself when my receptiveness of the seed of the word is less than perfect? Will they encourage me to rejoice when God’s word bears fruit? Maybe it’s time to get my own hands dirty in the soil of the word!

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