New book from Fr. Rudy.
Click here for
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 13, 2008; Year: A
Is. 55:10-1; Rom. 8:18-23; Mt. 13:1-23
The Fruitful Word of God
"Thus says the Lord: 'As the rain and the
snow come down from heaven, and do not return there
until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth
and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the
eater, so shall the word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish
that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which
I sent it.'" [Is. 55:10-1]
"I consider that the sufferings of this
present time are not worth comparing with the glory
about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with
eager longing for the revealing of the children of God;
for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its
own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in
hope that the creation itself will be set free from its
bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the
glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been
groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the
creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of
the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption,
the redemption of our bodies." [Rom. 8:18-23]
"Jesus went out of the house and sat
beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole
crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things
'Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as
he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds
came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground,
where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up
quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the
sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no
root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell
on good soil and brought forth grain, some a
hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with
Then the disciples came and asked Jesus,
'Why do you speak to them in parables?' He answered, 'To
you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom
of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to
those who have, more will be given, and they will have
an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what
they have will be taken away.
'The reason I speak to them in parables
is that 'seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they
do not listen, nor do they understand.' With them indeed
is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: 'You will
indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed
look, but never perceive. For this people's heart has
grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they
have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with
their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand
with their heart and turn - and I would heal them.'
'But blessed are your eyes, for they see,
and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell you, many
prophets and righteous people longed to see what you
see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but
did not hear it.
'Hear then the parable of the sower. When
anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not
understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what
is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one
who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a
while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account
of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for
what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears
the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of
wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.
'But as for what was sown on good soil,
this is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a
hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.'"
YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW
There is a Chinese saying which carries
the meaning that "A speech will either prosper or ruin a
nation." Many relationships break off because of wrong
speech. When a couple is too close with each other, we
always forget mutual respect and courtesy. We may say
anything without considering if it would hurt the other
A friend and her millionaire husband visited their
construction site. A worker who wore a helmet saw her
and shouted, "Hi, Emily! Remember me? We used to date in
the secondary school." On the way home, her millionaire
husband teased her, "Luckily you married me. Otherwise
you will be the wife of a construction worker." She
answered ,"You should appreciate that you married me.
Otherwise, he will be the millionaire and not you."
Frequently exchanging these remarks
plants the seed for a bad relationship. It's like a
broken egg - cannot be reversed.
Jesus came out of a house along the Sea
of Galilee. There was such large crowd that gathered to
listen to Jesus that he is preaching from a boat to the
people on the shore. The large crowd was there
listening. But what kind of hearers were there? What
kind of hearers are there today?
Jesus tells us about four ways people
respond to the gospel. This is one of the parables that
Jesus himself interprets. It tells how truth enters or
fails to enter the hearts of men.
Jesus uses an every day truth of farmer
sowing seed. As Jesus spoke this he may have seen a
farmer off in the distance scattering seed.
Here is what we find out about what Jesus
really means when he tells:
The story of the farmer sowing seed:
The Sower is the one who preaches the
The Seed is the Gospel.
The Soils are the conditions of the
hearts of men.
The main point of the parable is the
effect of the Gospel is determined by the heart of the
hearer. Because this is the main point some people like
to call this the parable of the soils. But Jesus called
this the parable of the sower in verse 18 when he says,
listen then to what the parable of the sower means.
Why do preachers of the gospel get
discouraged? It is because they have the most important
message of all and yet so many people have little regard
for it. If you had the cure to cancer, you would tell it
to all. But it would be discouraging if no one acted on
But there is encouragement to all who
share the gospel from the parable of the sower. Not
everyone will respond to your message, but some will.
That is something to be encouraged about. You can expect
people to respond in various ways.
THE HARD HEARTED HEARER
As he was scattering the seed, some fell
along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
When anyone hears the message about the
kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes
and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is
the seed sown along the path.
We sometimes speak of someone as
hard-hearted. You just can’t get a message into their
hearts. This kind of person is represented by a trodden
path. This is the person who is closed to the gospel.
They may have a million different reasons but the bottom
line is that this is a person that is not interested to
receive the gospel.
We find in Vs 4 that some of the seed
fell along the path. The path is hard and not easily
penetrated so the birds came and ate the seeds sown
along the path. Paths along the field become trampled by
foot. Soon these paths become as hard as pavement. What
if you planted a corn field in a paved parking lot?
You would not get any crops. It is not
the kind of soil that will support the seed to grow into
a mature plant. The path is the hard heart of men. The
bird is the devil that snatches away the Gospel.
The heart often becomes hard over the
years. After rejecting the gospel so many times they
become hardened. I talked to a man saved at age of forty
years. He said the odds of his being saved were one in
There are so many people who have
hardened their heart to the gospel. They have become too
hard hearted to respond to Jesus message. They are the
ones that make evangelization unpleasant.
It is dangerous when the young person
thinks; I am young so I will live my life according to
the world’s ways and then in my later life receive
Christ. They may come to find out the moment of
opportunity is past for them and they have become hard
hearted. Satan can snatch the gospel from them, as easy
as a bird eats the seed that falls on the hard path.
Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much
soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was
shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were
scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
Matthew 13: 20-21
The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places
is the man who hears the word and at once receives it
with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a
short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of
the word, he quickly falls away.
Some seeds will fall on rocky soil where
the earth covers the rock. The seeds can’t go deep.
These seeds germinate quickly and spring up very fast.
But when the sun comes out there is no substance. The
plant withers and dies. The roots never really
penetrated the soil.
Do you know the impulsive person? First
they take up jogging and buy jogging shoes, sweats,
headband and a sports watch. They get up one morning
drink a raw egg and jog five miles. Afterwards they get
sore and tired and quit. Before you know it they have
moved on to the next activity. They are enticed into
Jesus spoke of the spiritually impulsive
person. Think of the crowds that were willing to follow
Jesus until things got tough. Even he is talking about
the shallow hearers to a massive crowd that gathered
there at the Sea of Galilee. Many of them would prove to
be shallow hearers.
Here is the one who hears the gospel and
responds openly and emotionally. Troubles and trials
come and that’s it for them. There are gone. Many people
make spur of the moment decisions and they are gone.
Others go from one great meeting to another with no real
commitment. They are Spiritual gypsies. They are shallow
The crowds are ready to gather and hear
whoever is popular. But Jesus path led him to the cross.
He calls us to take up our own cross and follow him.
There are many superficial believers who will just wilt
away when the trials and tribulations come. These trials
work perseverance in true Christians.
The shallow hearers may be attracted to
the blessings, abundant life and heaven. But they don’t
count the cost of discipleship. Following Jesus is a
call for obedience.
After we have a negative experience with
the hard hearted we get excited when someone shows a
quick response to the gospel. But without really
becoming rooted in Christ they wilt away.
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked
We have the luxury in this parable of
having the explanation of the meaning that Jesus gave in
private to his disciples. He gives us this explanation
in verse 22.
The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns
is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this
life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it
For some who receive the gospel their
spiritual life is choked out by the worries of life. We
have three enemies to our spiritual life; the world, the
flesh and the devil. The devil worked on the hard heated
and snatched away the seed. The flesh got the best of
the shallow hearer.
This time it is the cares of the world
that choke out the sprouts soon after the seed has been
sown and the shoots start to sprout. The deceitfulness
of wealth is what ends the spiritual life of the seed
that falls among the thorns, the compromising hearer.
The deceitfulness of wealth is not
limited just to the rich. The poor who are working hard
to get ahead can be snatched away spiritually by wealth
too. For the rich the trap of pursuing luxuries and
pleasures can choke out their spiritual life.
They may profess to follow Christ at one
time. But now there is no evidence of spiritual fruit.
They have no spiritual power. Their lives do not reflect
the godliness of Jesus Christ. It is ironic what some
call the “good things in life” may actually be the
briers and thistles that choke out the gospel
Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a
crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
But the one who received the seed that
fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and
understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred,
sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Don’t be discouraged because some people
you work with are not continuing on in their walk with
Christ. Some will produce spiritual fruit yielding a
hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. We have a
name for these kinds of people. We call them the super
spreaders. When researchers track down the infectors of
certain viruses they can sometimes point to a few who
affected the masses.
You sow the gospel in the heart of one
super spreader and they have started a spiritual
movement. The few that do! It is exciting when someone
responds and serves Jesus and reproduces.
Not everyone you share the gospel with
will have hardened hearts. You should have hope. There
are those who will receive the gospel for what it is,
the words of eternal life. You don’t always know when
seed has fallen on good soil.
We sow in hope. We are anticipating the
gospel seed to fall on good soil in a receptive heart.
When it does we reap one hundred fold.
We will have joy when we share the
gospel. It is never easy to go out and share Christ with
others but there is a joy in it. Psalm 126:6 He who goes
out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with
songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
There is a principle that when you sow
abundantly you reap abundantly. 2 Corinthians 9:6 says;
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap
sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap
This passage may be talking about your
financial giving, but the laws of sowing and reaping
apply to sharing the gospel. The more you share Jesus
Christ, the more seed that will fall on good soil.
'As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do
not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the
sower and bread to the eater, so shall the word be that
goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and
succeed in the thing for which I sent it.'" [Is.
New book from Fr. Rudy :
Short review of the book: This book is an out come of a
serious exegetical study on the important words and
texts from the writings of St John of the Cross. The
study deals with a short life and writings of the mystic
and then does a complete study on GOD, MAN and WAYS to
EXPERIENCE GOD. The book is available at: St. Joseph
Church, Near Holy Cross Convent School, Mira Road East,
Thane Dt. Maharashtra State - 401 107, India. Books can
be ordered through email:
The cost of the book is Rs.
125/- pp.xviii + 234, The Title of the Book is: THE
DYNAMISM OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH - An Exegetical Study on
St. John of the Cross, author: Dr. Rudolf V. D' Souza,
OCD, MA. PhD.
Dear friend, my
homilies will be posted on Thursdays and you can benefit
them and if you need more resources, you could contact
Let us make this ministry
fruitful one so that the Word of God becomes a source of
joy for me and for you and help people become more aware
of its riches. You are also welcome to share your
feedback with me. Thanks and God bless.