The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 13: 1-23
This weekend’s Gospel establishes an expectation for those of us who claim to be Christians. Are you ready…here it is!!! Jesus calls each of us to be a MISSIONARY! We usually think of that word in the context of a faraway place with people very much unlike ourselves. But, think about it, people need to be “converted” EVERYWHERE! That means the person you live with, the neighbors you interface with, the people you work with, and even the people you pass in the Price Chopper. EVERYONE can benefit from our kindness, compassion, and service. EVERYONE needs to be reminded that Christ is present among us and is longing for people to get along and for “God’s kingdom to grow among us. No doubt, you’ve heard the statement, “If not you, then who?” Why not you…and me! We all have a reason for being (we French people call that our “raison d’etre). A good part of that reason for being a Christian is to “spread the good news of Jesus.” Jesus depends on us to do it…for Him! In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the “parable” (story) of the Sower and the Seed. The parable encourages us to do our part by preparing fertile soil in our hearts for the word of God to yield “60- and 100-fold.” We are encouraged to imitate the farmer who loses no sleep over a few seeds eaten by birds or a few suffocated seedlings (aka those who don’t pick up on our good deeds). In this parable, Jesus’ speaks about seed sown in various soil types. Scripture scholars tell us that this was an attempt on Jesus’ part to boost the morale of his frustrated disciples. They were upset and discouraged because they realized that their Master was facing opposition and hostility from the religious leaders of the times. The Pharisees were always looking for ways to trap Jesus, and the common people seemed to be more interested in Jesus’ ability to heal them than in His preaching. Using the parable of the sower in today’s passage of the Holy Gospel, Jesus assured his confused disciples that the “good news” He preached would produce the intended effect in spite of opposition and controversy. So…let’s all of us “keep on keepin’ on” trying to be a missionary…spreading the seed of the Good News of Jesus in our own way in our own places with the best we have to give! Once again, Jesus depends on us…we can’t disappoint Him! The Moso is a bamboo plant that grows mostly in China and the Far East. Moso bamboo is the largest of the cold-hardy bamboos, growing to a height of 75 feet with a diameter of eight inches. After the Moso is planted, no visible growth occurs for up to fifty days even under ideal conditions! Then, as if by magic, it suddenly begins growing to its full height of 75 feet within six weeks. The Moso’s rapid growth is due to the miles of roots (rhizomes) it has developed during those two months of getting ready. Jesus’ parable of the sower invites us to be patient when we fail to achieve instant results from the “preaching” we do through our exemplary lives of bearing witness to Jesus and His “Good News.” GOSPEL QUESTION FOR THE WEEK: Are you willing to be a missionary for Jesus? No travel required!