Friday, 16 July 2021 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, celebrating the patron of the Carmelites in her appearance to St. Simon Stock, one of the early founders of what is now known as the Carmelite Order. Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Mother of Our Lord, according to tradition, appeared to St. Simon Stock and gave him the now popular brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, promising grace and blessings to those who wear it with faith and devotion.

Through this devotion, the Lord called us all through the intercession of His beloved mother, Mary, Our Lady of Carmel, to turn towards Him and to be converted. The Lord called on everyone to put their trust in Him, and His ever loving mother always has her gaze on us all too, as we are all her adopted children, having been entrusted to her from the Cross by her Son. And through her and her many apparitions to us mankind, Mary, Our Lady of Carmel had endeavoured to bring us all ever closer to the Lord, to her Son, Our Saviour.

In today’s Scripture readings, from the day’s readings proper, we continue to hear the story of the Exodus of the Israelites from the land of Egypt, in the aftermath of the great plagues which came over Egypt as a result of their stubbornness and the Pharaoh’s refusal to let the people of Israel go free. As the Lord then revealed to Moses and Aaron, He instructed the people of Israel to prepare for the first Passover, as the commemoration of their freedom and as a constant reminder of the Lord’s mighty deeds in saving all of them.

That first Passover was a meal for the community and each families, all gathered that night to prepare for the salvation of God. The Passover lamb was prepared and chosen from among the flock, and slaughtered to be shared by the people gathered in the Passover feast, and its blood used to mark the houses of the Israelites that the Lord would spare them the incoming destruction. Thus, as they were spared from death and destruction that befell the Egyptians, as the Angels of the Lord ‘passed over’ the people of God as they came to scourge the land of Egypt and its people.

This is a reminder for us all of the most important role that Our Lord Himself, as Our Saviour had in our salvation. He is the Paschal Lamb sacrificed on the Altar of Calvary, the Altar of the Cross, and His Precious Blood shed, just like the Passover lamb, to mark all of His faithful ones, that those who have embraced Him as their Lord and Saviour, all of us, be spared the death and destruction that awaits those who have not received this grace of salvation. Through Him, all of us have received the assurance of eternal life and salvation.

God has done so much for all of us, all because of His generous love and commitment towards us, His ever strong desire to love us and to be reconciled with us. He does not want us to perish because of our sins and wickedness. That is why, He has reached out to us and sent to us His messengers, servants and others whom He has sent into our midst in order to remind us to walk in His path and not to fall into worldly temptations and falsehoods. We are all reminded to stay faithful to His way, and because of this, He enlisted even the help of His mother, Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel to help us in our journey.

All of us should look upon the faith and examples of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and how she is our inspiration and strength in living our lives faithfully as Christians. We should see how Mary followed her Son faithfully and with love, patiently and obediently in walking and journeying with Him, as she often followed Him from place to place. And she went up all the way even up to the feet of the Cross. Despite all the challenges and difficulties that she had to endure, Mary remained true to her calling and mission, and this, on top of her being the Mother of our Lord and God, is why we revere Mary as the greatest among all the saints and as our own beloved mother.

Let us all therefore look to the Lord and His salvation, to His Cross and the promise of His eternal glory, by journeying together and with Mary by our side, as we walk towards His Presence humbly and with faith. Let us all turn towards Him with renewed conviction and zeal, with desire and hope for healing and redemption, to be reconciled with God. Let us embrace the Lord Who has always lavished us with His love and compassionate mercy, and let us turn to Him with all of our heart and inspire others to do the same as well.

May Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mary, the Holy Mother of God and our beloved mother continue to pray and intercede for us sinners, on our behalf, and help us in our journey towards heavenly joy and glory with God. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 16 July 2021 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Matthew 12 : 1-8

At that time, it happened that, Jesus walking through the wheat fields on a Sabbath. His disciples were hungry; and they began to pick some heads of wheat, to crush and to eat the grain. When the Pharisees noticed this, they said to Jesus, “Look at Your disciples! They are doing what is prohibited on the Sabbath!”

Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did, when he and his men were hungry? He went into the House of God, and they ate the bread offered to God, though neither he nor his men had the right to eat it, but only the priests. And have you not read in the law, how, on the Sabbath, the priests in the Temple desecrate the Sabbath, yet they are not guilty?”

“I tell you, there is greater than the Temple here. If you really knew the meaning of the words : It is mercy I want, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. Besides, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Alternative reading (Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Matthew 12 : 46-50

At that time, while Jesus was talking to the people, His mother and His brothers wanted to speak to Him, and they waited outside. So someone said to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside; they want to speak with You.”

Jesus answered, “Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “Look! Here are My mother and My brothers. Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Friday, 16 July 2021 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Psalm 115 : 12-13, 15 and 16bc, 17-18

How can I repay YHVH for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of YHVH.

It is painful to YHVH to see the death of His faithful. I am Your servant, truly Your servant, Your handmaid’s son. You have freed me from my bonds.

I will offer You a thanksgiving sacrifice, I will call on the Name of YHVH. I will carry out my vows to YHVH in the presence of His people.

Alternative reading (Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my Saviour!

He has looked upon His servant, in her lowliness, and people, forever, will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name!

From age to age, His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Friday, 16 July 2021 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Exodus 11 : 10 – Exodus 12 : 14

Moses and Aaron had worked all these marvels in the presence of Pharaoh, but YHVH had made Pharaoh obstinate and he would not let the people of Israel leave his country.

YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt and said, “This month is to be the beginning of all months, the first month of your year. Speak to the community of Israel and say to them : On the tenth day of this month let each family take a lamb, a lamb for each house. If the family is too small for a lamb, they must join with a neighbour, the nearest to the house, according to the number of persons and to what each one can eat.”

“You will select a perfect lamb without blemish, a male born during the present year, taken from the sheep or goats. Then you will keep it until the fourteenth day of the month. On that evening all the people will slaughter their lambs and take some of the blood to put on the doorposts and on top of the doorframes of the houses where you eat.”

“That night you will eat the flesh roasted at the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat the meat lightly cooked and boiled in water but roasted entirely over the fire – the head, the legs and the inner parts. Do not leave any of it until the morning. If any is left till morning, burn it in the fire.”

“And this is how you will eat : with a belt round your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. You shall eat hastily for it is a Passover in honour of YHVH. On that night I shall go through Egypt and strike every firstborn in Egypt, men and animals; and I will even bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt, I, YHVH! The blood on your houses will be the sign that you are there. I will see the blood and pass over you; and you will escape the mortal plague when I strike Egypt.”

“This is a day you are to remember and celebrate in honour of YHVH. It is to be kept as a festival day for all generations forever.”

Alternative reading (Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Zechariah 2 : 14-17

Sing and rejoice, o daughter of Zion, for I am about to come, I shall dwell among you,” says YHVH. “On that day, many nations will join YHVH and be My people, but My dwelling is among you.”

The people of Judah will be for YHVH as His portion in His holy land. He will choose Jerusalem again. Keep still in YHVH’s presence, for He comes, having risen from His holy dwelling.

Monday, 16 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the apparition of Mary, the Blessed Mother of God, who appeared to St. Simon Stock, one of the member of the Carmelite order which at that time had a chapter at the Mount Carmel area of the Holy Land. Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to St. Simon Stock in a vision, and told him to propagate the use of the now famous brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The brown scapular eventually become a regular part of the habit of the Carmelites themselves, and through that, the devotion of the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel gradually spread throughout Christendom to this very day. The brown scapular is a sacramental, meaning that it is an object signifying sanctification and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her aspect as the Lady of Mount Carmel.

The Carmelites were devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, whom they held as the patron and protector of the Carmelite order itself, as she is the perfect role model for all of them in living their faith and in carrying out their Carmelite charism and commitment. She is a great model in prayer and piety, as a faithful servant of God and the one closest to her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

And therefore, she should be a great role model for each and every one of us Christians as well. She is the best and most faithful of all the children of God, devoting her whole life to His service and surrendering herself completely to the plan which He had entrusted and revealed to her through the Archangel Gabriel, that is to be the Mother of the Messiah and God, Jesus Christ.

She placed herself in God’s hands, and even when she was unsure and afraid, she would trust it all in God. She gave her all to love her Son, Jesus, Our Lord, and brought Him up all the way from the time when He was conceived in her womb, through His birth and young age, and then throughout His adult ministry among the people, and finally, to the cross itself, at Calvary.

Having seen her own Son, her own flesh and blood suffering in such a terrible way because of our sins, which He willingly took up upon Himself, so that we would not have to suffer the punishment and suffering for our own sins, that is why she has appeared so many times before us, in various places, including to St. Simon Stock, by offering the sacramental devotion of the brown scapular, so that we may be saved through her.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Mary is like our loving mother, and indeed, she is our mother. The Lord Himself has entrusted her to us as our mother, when He symbolically entrusted her to His disciple, St. John the Evangelist, and then, vice versa, by entrusting him to Mary, His mother, He has also entrusted all of us to the loving care of our mother, Mary.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, many of us have not lived our lives according to the way that the Lord has taught us and which He had commanded us to do. We have been swayed by the many temptations of pride, of worldly greed and desires, of the pleasures of the flesh, of accumulation of money and properties, all for our own selfish benefits and desires, often without consideration of our brethren’s well-being.

And God is not at the centre of our lives, as we sidelined Him during our continuous and unceasing efforts to gain for ourselves more and more of worldly properties, belongings and goods, fame and glory, and all things that we deem to be more precious than anything else. But ultimately, all these things are just illusory and temporary, and our unbridled desire for them led us into sin.

Mary, our loving mother does not want us to remain in this state of sin, and in this despicable state of life, and that is why, she has tried her best, and interceded for us before her Son at every possible opportunity. After all, which mother would want to see her son or daughter suffer and be lost to her? And because Mary is our mother, she cares for us and always thinks of us, just as she has done for her Son Jesus, Our Lord.

Let us today therefore reflect on the word of God in the Scriptures, that hopefully had stirred the faith within our hearts, that we will find the courage and resolution to be faithful to God and to turn towards Him with a repentant and loving heart, desiring to seek Him and to love Him from now on, with all of our hearts, every day of our lives. May Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Simon Stock continue to intercede for us sinners, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 16 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Matthew 10 : 34 – Matthew 11 : 1

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Do not think that I have come to establish peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Each one will have as enemies, those of one’s own family.”

“Whoever loves father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me. And whoever loves son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me. And whoever does not take up his cross and follow Me, is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life, for My sake, will find it.”

“Whoever welcomes you, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes Him Who sent Me. The one who welcomes a prophet, as a prophet, will receive the reward of a prophet; the one who welcomes a just man, because he is a just man, will receive the reward of a just man.”

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, because he is My disciple, I assure you, he will not go unrewarded.”

When Jesus had finished giving His twelve disciples these instructions, He went on from there to teach and proclaim His message in their towns.

Alternative reading (Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Matthew 12 : 46-50

At that time, while Jesus was talking to the people, His mother and His brothers wanted to speak to Him, and they waited outside. So someone said to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside; they want to speak with You.”

Jesus answered, “Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “Look! Here are My mother and My brothers. Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Monday, 16 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Psalm 49 : 8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23

Not for your sacrifices do I reprove you, for your burnt offerings are ever before Me. I need no bull from your stalls, nor he-goat from your pens.

What right have you to mouth My laws, or to talk about My covenant? You hate My commands and cast My words behind you.

Because I was silent while you did these things, you thought I was like you. But now I rebuke you and make this charge against you. Those who give with thanks offerings honour Me, but the one who walks blamelessly, I will show him the salvation of God.

Alternative reading (Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my Saviour!

He has looked upon His servant, in her lowliness, and people, forever, will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name!

From age to age, His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Monday, 16 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Isaiah 1 : 10-17

Hear the warning of YHVH, rulers of Sodom. Listen to the word of God, people of Gomorrah. “What do I care,” says YHVH, “for your endless sacrifices? I am fed up with your burnt offerings, and the fat of your bulls. The blood of fatlings, and lambs and he-goats I abhor, when you come before Me and trample on My courts. Who asked you to visit Me? I am fed up with your oblations. I grow sick with your incense.

Your New Moons, Sabbaths and meetings, evil with holy assemblies, I can no longer bear. I hate your New Moons and appointed feasts. They burden Me. When you stretch out your hands I will close My eyes; the more you pray, the more I refuse to listen, for your hands are bloody.

Wash and make yourselves clean. Remove from My sight the evil of your deeds. Put an end to your wickedness and learn to do good. Seek justice and keep in line the abusers; give the fatherless their rights and defend the widow.

Alternative reading (Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Zechariah 2 : 14-17

Sing and rejoice, o daughter of Zion, for I am about to come, I shall dwell among you,” says YHVH. “On that day, many nations will join YHVH and be My people, but My dwelling is among you.”

The people of Judah will be for YHVH as His portion in His holy land. He will choose Jerusalem again. Keep still in YHVH’s presence, for He comes, having risen from His holy dwelling.

Sunday, 16 July 2017 : Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, all of us gather together listening to the words of the Scriptures, which are indeed the Word of God, which in accordance with what we heard from the first reading taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah. The Word of God has come into the world, and the Word had been sent from God to dwell among us, He Who is none other than Christ, Son of God and Word of God incarnate in flesh of Man.

The entire theme of this Sunday’s readings is about the growth of seeds and plants, in which the Word of God is likened to seeds that God planted in each and every one of us. In the Psalm, we sing to the glory of God, remembering how He nurtures the earth and cares for it. In the same manner, He nurtured us all and allow us to flourish in this world. But how about that seed, the Word of God which He planted inside each one of us?

In the Gospel passage today, we heard the well-known parable of the sower, in which Jesus our Lord spoke to His disciples about how the sower of the seeds sowed his seeds in various places, only for the seeds to end up in various end results. Some of the seeds ended up on the roadside, eaten up by the birds, while some others fell on a rocky soil, unable to grow because they were unable to establish their roots, and while some others fell among thistles and brambles, which choke the life out of the newly grown plants, and last of all, some fell on rich soil, where the seeds grew and bore in multiples of what had been planted.

The Lord Himself has explained the meaning of each of the segments of this parable, explaining to His disciples what they all need to do in order to blossom in their faith, allowing the Word of God to grow in them and to encompass them completely. However, it is also important for us all that we must heed its message, so that each and every one of us know how we ourselves should live in accordance with God’s will, and be able to flourish best in our faith.

First of all, we heard of the case where the seeds fell on the roadside and were eaten up by the birds of the sky. The Lord Jesus explained that this is the case when the devil came by and took the Word away from the people, who therefore did not believe because of that. It is a clear reminder for every one of us that we have a great adversary in the devil, the one who is always active, prowling about seeking to drag our souls into damnation. He is always active and continue to plot for the downfall of all mankind, God’s beloved creation.

We must be careful lest the devil comes to us and snatches from us the Word of God, because of all his lies and all the things that he tempted us with, pulling us away from the path to salvation and leading us into the path of ruin. He is always ever active seeking for those whose faith in the Lord are weak, and all those who do not have a good relationship with God, whose faith is superficial and lacking in strength.

How should we strengthen our faith in God then? It is by deepening our relationship with Him, through prayer and time which we spend with Him. We should not be too busy with ourselves and whatever it is that we are doing in life. It is often that we leave the Lord to the last priority in our lives, and as a result, we open ourselves to the devil to come into our hearts and snatch whatever it is that God had placed in us. We end up falling into sin and evil, because of our inability to strengthen that relationship we ought to have with God, and God is not at the centre of our lives.

This is related with what we then heard about the seeds that fell on the rocky ground, where they were able to grow quickly and yet, they were unable to form proper roots due to the rocky soil, and they ended up being scorched and destroyed from the lack of water and the intense heat. This is what happened when all of us are closing up ourselves to the Lord, because of what I had just mentioned, when we ended up being so busy with ourselves and our daily business, that we end up shoving God away from the centre of our lives.

Let us ask ourselves, how many of us find going to the Holy Mass to be tedious and as a chore? How many of us are always looking at our watches, wondering when the celebrant of the Mass will finish his long homily or when we will be able to leave the Mass to continue with our daily proceedings and business? How many of us grumble because we have to go to the church on Sundays and on certain Holy Days of Obligation?

If we do not prioritise God in our lives, and if we find serving and worshipping the Lord as a chore, that is exactly when we have the seeds spread by God landing on a rocky soil, on our souls, hearts and minds that are filled with so many distractions and other preoccupations that we do not allow the Word of God to take roots and grow deep inside each one of us. That is when we start to wander off, away from God’s salvation and into damnation, since the Word of God has no place in us and thus we also will have no place in God’s kingdom

Then, for the case when the seeds fell among the thistles and brambles, as the Lord Jesus explained to His disciples, were those who have accepted the word of God, and yet when challenges and troubles come, when the concerns of this world come, they ended up losing the faith and the Word of God was cast out from them, as they abandon God when they were unable to commit to Him wholeheartedly as they should have.

This is quite clear cut for us, as it is often that as Christians, we will encounter difficulties and challenges, when those who are around us, even from our friends and families, who do not agree with us and with what we believe in our faith in God. There will be difficulties, obstacles and even rejection, and there will be moments when we will stumble and be tempted to give up, to compromise our faith and to appease those who demand that we change our ways and abandon our faith.

It is our human nature for us all to think about ourselves first, and to preserve ourselves. And it is also our human nature for us to want to feel accepted by others, and that is why, many of us will be tempted to make compromises and to abandon tenets of our faith. That is when we falter, and when we fail in our faith. If we do not have the courage to stand up for our faith and continue to walk righteously before God, how then will God find us worthy of Him, if we are not capable of committing ourselves to Him?

There will be plenty of temptations awaiting us the faithful people of God, from the temptation of physical goods such as money, wealth and possession, that had indeed kept many of us occupied, in how we spent so much time in our career, trying to accumulate for ourselves all these worldly goods, or in order to achieve acclaim and worldly fame and glory. These are some of the common temptations that had caused so many among us to stumble in our way.

Rather, all of us as Christians are called to be like the case where the seeds fell onto rich soil, grew healthily and produce tremendous amounts of returns in the form of products, in many multiples, thirtyfold, sixtyfold, hundredfold or even more than these. This is when all of us do not just receive the Word of God and remain passive, ignorant or lukewarm in our faith, but instead, we must embody what we believe in and be genuine with our faith.

This is how we provide a good soil for the Word of God to grow and blossom, by providing an environment filled with faith, hope and love. All of us are called to be true and living disciples of the Lord, filled with compassion and love for others, with mercy and forgiveness for our brethren who have caused us pain and suffering, those who have hurt us or hated us, and then also for us to be truly just and righteous in all of our ways and actions.

Just as farmers need to toil the soil, to provide ample amount of air in the soil, and as they also need to place animal droppings or chemical fertilisers on the soil in order to keep the plant healthy, in the same manner, our faith and the Word of God within us, the seeds of faith God has planted in us require us to commit ourselves to action that accentuates our faith and make what we believe no longer just mere words but also a reality.

That is how we make ourselves to be fruitful in the sight of the Lord, by devoting ourselves to do what He wants us to do, to walk in His path and to do what His will is for us. It is how we take what God had given to us, and then make it into a rich harvest, which the Lord will reap at the end, and seeing our great and bountiful faith, He shall bless us all with everlasting life and eternal glory.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He empower us all to live in accordance with His will, filled with joy knowing that because all that we have done, all the hard work and toiling we have given for the sake of the Lord, all of these are meant for the glorification of God, as what St. Paul in his Epistle in our second reading today mentioned. We await for the coming of the Lord, Who will come in His glory and reward all those who are faithful to Him. May He look favourably on our faith in Him, and bless all of our works. Amen.

Sunday, 16 July 2017 : Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Matthew 13 : 1-23

At that time, Jesus left the house and sat down by the lakeside. Many people gathered around Him. So He got into a boat, and sat down, while the crowds stood on the shore; and He spoke to them in parables about many things.

Jesus said, “The sower went out to sow; and, as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path; and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil, and the seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was not deep. But as soon as the sun rose, the plants were scorched; and they withered, because they had no roots.”

“Again, other seeds fell among thistles; and the thistles grew and choked the plants. Still, other seeds fell on good soil and produced a crop : some a hundredfold, others sixty, and others thirty. If you have ears, then hear!”

Then His disciples came to Him and said, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but not to these people. For the one who has will be given more; and he will have in abundance. But the one who does not have will be deprived of even what he has. That is why I speak to them in parables; because they look and do not see; they hear; but they do not listen or understand.”

“In them, the words of the prophet Isaiah are fulfilled : However much you hear, you do not understand; however much you see, you do not perceive. For the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears hardly hear and their eyes dare not see. If they were to see with their eyes, hear with their ears and understand with their heart, they would turn back, and I would heal them.”

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For I tell you, many prophets and righteous people have longed to see the things you see, but they did not see them; and to hear the things you hear, but they did not hear them.”

“Now listen to the parable of the sower. When a person hears the message of the kingdom, but does not take it seriously, the devil comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed that fell along the footpath. The seed that fell on rocky ground stands for the one who hears the Word, and accepts it at once with joy. But such a person has no roots, and endures only for a while. No sooner is he harassed or persecuted because of the Word, than he gives up.”

“The seed that fell among the thistles is the one who hears the Word; but then, the worries of this life and the love of money choke the Word; and it does not bear fruit. As for the seed that fell on good soil, it is the one who hears the Word and understands it; this seed bears fruit and produces a hundred, or sixty, or thirty times more.”

Alternative reading (shorter version)
Matthew 13 : 1-9

At that time, Jesus left the house and sat down by the lakeside. Many people gathered around Him. So He got into a boat, and sat down, while the crowds stood on the shore; and He spoke to them in parables about many things.

Jesus said, “The sower went out to sow; and, as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path; and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil, and the seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was not deep. But as soon as the sun rose, the plants were scorched; and they withered, because they had no roots.”

“Again, other seeds fell among thistles; and the thistles grew and choked the plants. Still, other seeds fell on good soil and produced a crop : some a hundredfold, others sixty, and others thirty. If you have ears, then hear!”