15th Sunday of Year A
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EXPLORE — SEEDS
The final chapters of Isaiah are called the ‘Book of Consolations’, written to comfort and encourage the Israelites in exile. God’s people are invited to trust deeply in the power and promises of God. They will return home. The power of God’s word to do and bring about what is spoken points also to the Gospel reading and the power of the ‘seed’ that is sown to be extremely fruitful. The Hebrew ‘dabar’ is translated as both ‘word’ and ‘deed’. Consider your own word. Do you ‘do’ as you ‘say’? Is your word powerful? Effective? Can people rely on your ‘word’ and ‘what you say you will do’?
‘St Paul uses striking imagery to describe our spiritual journey. We groan within ourselves as we ‘wait for adoption’ and the ultimate redemption of our bodies. What life experience at present is causing you to ‘groan inwardly’? Do you accept or resent your human frailty and weakness? St Paul’s words suggest he talked with God about this. What is the experience of ‘waiting for adoption’? Can you link this with your discipleship and suffering?
The reader is invited to reflect upon what type of ‘soil’ is present in their life and if there are any obstacles to the Word (seed)? Things closing my eyes, ears, heart? A question or topic of faith that I have not pursued enough and been satisfied with ‘not understanding’? Some trial or tribulation that I have let dominate my life, whose voice I have let be louder than God’s voice? Concern and ‘anxiety’ for money, job, clothing, posessions, relationships that have led me to choose the world over God?
SOURCE: Living the Word resources are created by Fr Frank Bird a Marist priest and Mrs Bev McDonald, ACSD, distributed by Marist Laity Auckland, NZ
1. Jesus uses parables to make people think about their own responses to his message. As you read this parable you may recognise that at different times you have been like each of the different types of soil. As you recall times when you presented fertile soil for the word of God, what helped you create that recep- tive atmosphere? What lessons for life do you get from that?
2. Parents with children, teachers with pupils, speakers with listeners, are all like sowers in a field where the preparation of the soil is up to another—the child, pupil or listener. They can sow the seed but cannot guarantee that it will bear fruit. At times there may be a temptation not to try any more. The challenge is to sow in hope. When have you been sur- prised by the harvest you have reaped?
3. “We are wasting our time here” may sometimes be the apparent wisdom in a group. Have there been times when you have gone against this apparent wisdom and seen your efforts bear fruit?
SOURCE: Hearers of the Word
The rain originates in the heavens, and falls to the earth making it fertile, helping to produce fruit for our consumption. Accomplishing its mission, it returns to the heavens. In what way is God’s word reliable in this manner? “So shall my word be, … achieving the end for which I sent it.” What is the end for which God sent his Son?
What do you think is the corruption from which creation is trying to free itself? Is there some pain involved in trying to end war, birth a cleaner environment for the planet, and establish new and better kinds of race relations? If God continually creates us moment by moment, will God help with these difficult births?
Jesus mentions “cares of the world and lure of wealth” as rocky ground and thorns that keep the seed from taking root. What is your “rocky ground”? Are you a busy pathway where the Word is sown but then is trampled? And can the thorns of worldly anxiety choke the Word when it comes to you?
1. How effective has the word of God been in your life as a Christian? Have you heard the word of salvation in Christ Jesus spoken to you personally? How has that word come to you? Through family? Through the ministries of the Church? Through the events and occurrences of your life?
2. What obstacles and impediments are there to God’s word today in the particular world in which you live? Does opposition come from optional or non-optional sources? (Do you have a choice about those persons or situations by which the word of God is opposed in your life?) What can you do to make the soil of your life more receptive to God’s word?
3. Do you hear the word of God effectively proclaimed by the Christian community or parish to which you belong? In what ways does the community facilitate the hearing of the word? In what ways does the community stand in the way of your hearing the word? What can you do to improve the situation?
SOURCE: Portland Diocese
Who or what sowed God’s Word in your life? When did your love for Scripture begin to blossom?
Paul speaks about creation as “groaning in labor pains.” What might be groaning in you at this time seeking to be born?
What can hinder or help us from being good soil for God’s Word?
What are simple ways that you can be a sower of God’s Word in the lives of others?
Name one thing today’s Gospel says to us that we disciples of Jesus need to heed and act on.
SOURCE: Ascension Catholic Parish, Melbourne, FL
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by Edrianne Ezell
Sunday Scripture Study
What does the prophet Isaiah tell us about the effectiveness of God’s word? How does this relate to the Gospel Reading?
How does the 2nd Reading convey the reality that the Kingdom of God is “now present” but “not yet”?
What is a parable? What do they accomplish that simple and direct speech lacks?
What four types of soil does Jesus mention? What characterizes each? What happens to theseed in each type of soil?
What does Jesus’ explanation of the parable (Matthew 13:8-23) reveal about the seed? About thevarious soils? The fruit? The Sower?
How does Jesus’ challenge in verse 9 help explain Matthew 13:1-12? How does faith open you upto more and more spiritual insight?
What deep “roots” help to prevent a Christian from falling away? What gives you roots?
What worries can choke your growth in Christ? How can you free your life from these “thorns”?
What “crop” does Jesus want Christians to yield? What can you do to increase yourproductivity?