Friday, 27 July 2018 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard of God calling back His people through His prophet Jeremiah, a people who have been lost and separated to Him, that they may be gathered again after they had been scattered due to their rebelliousness and sin. He has called them all to repent from their sins, and therefore, to turn their back to the unfaithfulness they had done before.

To this extent, He gave us all a Saviour, to be the One Who can deliver us out of our predicament, and from the current state of sin that we suffer from, in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and the Son of God. Through the giving of His own beloved Son, God wants each and every one of us to be reconciled to Himself. And indeed, He had done that, by His ultimate sacrifice and perfect love on the cross.

He offered us all salvation and liberation from our sins, bringing the truth about our need for salvation and repentance to us. He is the Word of God, through Whom His will has been revealed to us and made known, that we may know how we should live our lives in this world, in order for us to be receptive to His saving grace, mercy and forgiveness. And the Lord Jesus presented it well through the parable which He said in our Gospel passage today.

In today’s parable, well known as the parable of the sower, we heard about a sower who sowed seeds in a certain place, but the seeds fell on different types of environments. They landed in all sorts of places, from the most unfavourable to the most favourable, with some landing on the roadside, while others landed on rocky ground, or among thistles and brambles, while some others fell on rich and fertile soil.

None of the seeds grew on those places where the conditions were unfavourable for growth, as in the case of the ones that fell on the roadside, they were eaten up by the birds. Those that fell on rocky ground were unable to find firm ground to establish their roots and they perished in the hot sun. And those that fell among thistles and brambles were surrounded and suffocated by those same thistles and brambles, and thus all perished, save for those which fell on rich and fertile soil.

What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? And how is this relevant to us all as the people of God? The Lord explained to His disciples, that the seeds are the Word of God, freely given to all of us, just as the sower spread the seeds in all directions. God does not discriminate in giving His love, mercy and forgiveness for our sins, no matter our background and our origin. He gives to all of us, from the smallest to the greatest of sinners, His love and generous offer of mercy.

That is the seeds of faith which He sowed in us, and which He had hoped that those seeds will eventually grow in each and every one of us who believe in Him. However, as we ourselves have heard, not all the seeds were able to grow, because they fell in greatly differing conditions, which in fact, represent our varying responses to the Lord’s call and offer of love and mercy. If we are not receptive of God’s call and love, how can we then expect to grow in faith in Him?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why today, all of us as Christians are called to rediscover our faith and we are called to let our faith grow strong in a fertile ‘soil’ which is our hearts, our minds, our bodies and indeed, our whole being. And how do we make ourselves fertile? It is by enriching our spiritual life through sincere and devout prayer life, regularly communicating with God and seeking to know His will by listening to Him speaking in our hearts.

If we are able to do so, then just as the Gospel passage mentioned how the seeds grew thirtyfold, sixtyfold and hundredfold in produce, therefore, we too shall gain immeasurably from the richness of our spiritual life, in which our faith in God can grow and prosper. This is what we are called to do, and which we should aspire to be in our Christian life and discipleship.

Let us all therefore, from now on, strive to be ever better and more committed disciples of Christ, no longer closing our hearts and minds from God, but instead, willingly opening ourselves to Him and finding ways through which we can grow ever more devoted to the Lord, Our God and Saviour. May God be our guide and be our strength, that in all the things we do in life, we will always seek His greater glory, and desire to love Him ever more, with each passing day. Amen.

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