RESPONDING TO THE WORD OF GOD
The First reading from Prophet Isaiah is an invitation from the Lord to share in the grace of His heavenly banquet. In verses 10-11, Isaiah uses comparisons that were meaningful to an agrarian society in an arid climate, to describe the power of the divine word of God and the salvation that it promises. God does not speak in vain or scatter His promises in thin air, but we actually receive the fruit of them, provided we do not prevent it by our unbelief. Like the rain and snow that comes down from heaven to nourish the earth and make it fruitful. In the same way the word of God comes down from heaven to take root in fertile hearts and will not return to Him empty and barren, but will take root and flourish, nourished by the good deeds of those who hear the word and obey His commandments.
In the second reading, St. Paul works with the idea that any Jew would recognize and understand. He talks of the present age and the glory that is to come. Jewish thought divided time into two sections (i) present age; and (ii) the age to come. The present age was bad, subject to sin, death, decay and someday would come “The Day of the Lord” viz., the Day of Judgment when the world would be shaken to its foundations and out of it would come a new world. St. Paul reminds us that the suffering we endure in this life is nothing compared to the glory that God promised those who embrace His word.
Gospel : In Palestine there were two ways of sowing seed (i) the sower scattered it as he walked up and down the field or (ii) by a lazy but not uncommonly way i.e., a sack of seed (with a tear/cut/hole at the corner of the sack) put on the back of an ass. The ass was made to walk up and down the field until the seed ran out. In the parable, the Sower presents Jesus planting seeds of Faith. The Seed is the Word of God/message of Salvation broadcast to every person and the different kinds of Soil is the disposition of our hearts and the response to Jesus message of Salvation.
Jesus attributes failure to produce good fruit of repentance/conversion to:
a. The activity of Satan (verse 19)
b. Personal shallowness (verses 5, 20-22)
c. Ambition for worldly pleasures and wealth (verse 22)
How would you evaluate the soil of your life in which Jesus has sown His word? Are you living up to the "yield" that Jesus expects from His faithful?