15th Sunday Homily in Ordinary Time Year A

Fifteenth Sunday Homily in Ordinary Time Year A
Lectionary: 103

Reading 1 IS 55:10-11

Thus says the LORD: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm PS 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14

R. (Lk 8:8) The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
You have visited the land and watered it;
greatly have you enriched it.
God’s watercourses are filled;
you have prepared the grain.
R. The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
Thus have you prepared the land: drenching its furrows,
breaking up its clods,
Softening it with showers,
blessing its yield.
R. The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
You have crowned the year with your bounty,
and your paths overflow with a rich harvest;
The untilled meadows overflow with it,
and rejoicing clothes the hills.
R. The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
The fields are garmented with flocks
and the valleys blanketed with grain.
They shout and sing for joy.
R. The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.

Reading 2 ROM 8:18-23

Brothers and sisters: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself
would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower.
All who come to him will have life forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 13:1-23

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore.  And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.  To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted, and I heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to 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. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.  But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away.  The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

The Sower


God is continually calling us to a better life through his word. Jesus compared the word of God to a seed which a man plants in the ground. For the seed to grow it needs to be planted in good soil. What kind of soil do we offer God’s word? [Pause]

If our lives are barren it can only mean that we have not allowed God’s word to take root in our hearts. But God hasn’t given up on us.

Lord, you are continually sowing the seed of your word in our minds and hearts. Lord, have mercy.

You wait patiently for us to receive your word, Christ, have mercy.

When we receive your word you make our barren lives fruitful. Lord, have mercy.


First Reading (Isaiah 55:10-11). God cares for the earth by sending rain to make it fruitful. He cared for us by sending us his word. This word is very powerful if we give it a chance.

Second Reading (Romans 8: 18-23). St Paul tells us that the glory which awaits us in the next life far outweighs anything we could suffer in this life.

Gospel (Matthew 1321-23). Jesus compares the word of God to a seed falling into the ground.


Every moment and every event of our lives on earth plants something in our souls. Unfortunately not everything grows. God is continually calling us to a more authentic life. It is not a task he imposes on us accompanied by the threat of punishment if we do not comply with his wishes. Rather it is an opportunity he offers us. We are his children, and like a good parent, he wants to see us grow.

For many years now the seed of his word has been falling into the soil of our hearts. His word is not a a dead and lifeless thing. It is full of life and energy. If it doesn’t producee results that is because our hearts are dead, or are so hard and stony that nothing can grow in them.

Once upon a time there was a famous violin teacher called Amadeus. He not only knew his music but was gifted with great patience. He had a knack of being able to bring out the best in his pupils, and had been known to work wonders with ones who were not particularly gifted. Once four pupils were sent to him. He saw at ‘once that each of them had a very definite potential, and this excited him.

The first was Mary. However, she had only just started her music lessons when her friends began to pester her. They would come and knock at her door, begging her to come and play with them. She gave in, and that was the end of her music lessons. Amadeus was sad to see her go so soon.

The second was John. It was never his idea to go to the music school. It was his parents who sent him. From the very beginning his heart was not in it. Still, for a while, it was kind of exciting to hear the sound of the violin. But soon the novelty wore off, and it was just so much hard work. He was forced to stay indoors for hours on end, practicing silly scales. In the end he got tired of it, and gave it up. And Amadeus was sad to see him go.

The third was James. He was multi-talented. He particularly liked athletics and football. Being of a very ambitious nature, he wanted to cultivate all his interests. For a while he succeeded. But he also had his regular studies to attend to. Things got very hectic. Something was bound to suffer. It was the music lessons. First he began to fall behind, then to neglect them, and finally he dropped them altogether. His excuse was understandable: he had too many things to do. Amadeus was sad to see another of his pupils drop out.

The fourth was Anne. She was by no means the best of the four, but she really wanted to succeed. So, right from the start, she put her heart and soul into it. She trusted her teacher fully and tried to do everything he asked of her. Of course there came a time when practicing got boring and she was tempted to quit. Of course there were times when she would rather be out-of-doors playing with her friends. And of course there were so many other things she would have liked to do. Still, music was her priority. 50 she stuck to her lessons, and in the end graduated with first class honours. Amadeus was very pleased, and all her friends rejoiced with her.

So it is with the seed of God’s word, a word which calls us to a better life. We receive it but what happens? Some receive it but immediately hear other voices calling them to a life of comfort and pleasure. Others begin to answer the call, but find it costly, and soon throw the towel in, and return to their old ways. Others genuinely want to answer the call but they have so many other pressing things to worry about. These are not always had things. They are usually good things, and that is what makes them so dangerous. They are not seen as a threat. But the end result is the same. The seed comes to nothing.

But then there are some who offer the seed the good soil of a receptive heart. They make God’s voice the most important voice in their lives. They take heart when they see the seed begin to grow. They continue to nurture it, so that in time it blossoms and enriches their lives.

It is we as persons who must grow. While the four sets of conditions that militate against the seed are present in the heart of each one of us, nevertheless, there is good soil in each of us. We all have a tremendous potential for good. At the ‘end of our lives it might be the fact that we haven’t used this, rather that the evil we have done, which will cause us most regret.

In some people who have received the word of God you can see a steady growth in holiness. But in others years may go by and you see nothing. Then something happens, they see the light, and suddenly their true potential is revealed and begins to blossom. They are like a desert landscape after a fall of rain. Think of people such as Francis of Assisi and Ignatius of Loyola.

Our main task is to be open and receptive. We must leave the growth and the harvest in God’s hands. Nevertheless, we often do not demand enough of ourselves. We ought to long and strive for the perfection of ourselves. ‘If a man believes and expects great things of himself, it makes no difference where you put him. He will be surrounded by grandeur’. (Thoreau). At the end of the day we will not, however, be judged by results but only by the efforts we have made. Not everyone is capable of producing a hundredfold.

‘Life is only a kind of sowing time, the harvest is not here’. (Van Gogh).

‘A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day’. (Emily Dickinson).


Let us pray the Word of God, that most precious of all seeds, may take firm root in our hearts and enrich our lives. R. Lord, hear our prayer.

That Christians may not allow the weeds of materialism and worldly ambition to choke the life of the Spirit within them. [Pause] Let us pray to the Lord.

For all in positions of service: that God’s call to a life of generosity may not perish on the rock of selfishness. [Pause] Let us pray to the Lord.

For those who are deaf to the word of God, and for those who have heard it but not acted on it, and whose lives are barren as a result. [Pause] Let us pray to the Lord.

That we may receive God’s word with generosity of heart so that in due time we may produce the fruits of Christ like living. [Pause]

Let us pray to the Lord.

For local needs.

Let us pray:

Father, the soil of our lives is often thin, stony, and full of weeds, but your seed is strong and sturdy. Help us to care for it so that we may produce thirty percent, or sixty percent, or maybe even a hundred percent, according to what each of us is capable of. We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Parents, teachers, priests, and many others

spend much of their lives implanting words.

Naturally they want to reap a harvest.

But the harvest is often slow in coming.

This is also true of God’s Word.

Since the days of our youth this precious seed

has been falling into the soil of our hearts.

Yet what results have we to show?

Perhaps very little.

But we must not despair.

A handful of grains of wheat was found

in the tomb of one of the kings of ancient Egypt.

Someone planted and watered them.

To the amazement of everyone,

the grains came to life and began to grow,

after five thousand years lying in a tomb.

The word of God,

once dropped into the human heart,

never dies.

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