Graphic by David Chen

Faith: Word of God is the seed of life

  • July 5, 2017

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 16 (Year A) Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 65; Romans 8:18-23; Matthew 13:1-23

The Word of God is a dynamic and creative expression of the divine will, at work at every moment and in every place. It is not confined to the borders of the Church, nor can it be controlled by human beings. Its work is healing, guiding, inspiring and drawing all humanity back to its divine source.

The Word of God was the instrument of creation in Genesis and it took physical form in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

Drawing on the insights of biblical scholars, a recent Vatican document (Verbum domini) proposes a broader and deeper view of God’s Word than is customary. To be sure, it includes sacred scriptures, but prophets, teachers and holy men and women also express the Word of God in their lives and teachings.

The beauty and order of nature is a fine expression of divine creativity, as is art, music, poetry and various historical events. Our personal life experience is yet another page of God’s Word. Anything that draws us closer to the light, brings about reconciliation or leads us to a life of compassionate and humble service is a valid medium for expressing the divine will. Rather than a world empty of God or void of meaning, it is charged and illuminated with God and divine purpose.

This is not plainly visible to everyone — one must develop spiritual insight and understanding, as well as a mystical sense, for the world to be manifest in its various dimensions.

The ancients had a much more holistic view of creation and humanity than we do. We strive to regain some of these insights. Reflecting ancient philosophical and religious ideas, Paul believed the world, the created order and humanity were in a state of decay. All of creation needed redemption.

Care for the created order is an integral part of our spirituality and faith, for we are part of that order, not mere observers. Creation is not static, but a continuous process. A new world is still struggling to be born. This involves pain and struggle, but the gift of new birth far outweighs it. Patience, as well as cooperation with the process as it unfolds, are the most helpful responses we can offer.

Matthew’s parable of the sower addresses the mystery of God’s Word scattered over the face of the Earth. The Word is sown like seed, but the results are not the same for every seed. When Jesus unpacked the parable for His disciples, He had to explain that much depended on the soil upon which the seed fell — the hearts and minds of people.

Some seed would never grow. Other seed would sprout, but fall victim to superficiality, the bane of human understanding. Lacking staying power, the struggles and difficulties of life would take their toll. Only those who understood the Word and applied it to their lives — those who had developed a spiritual and mystical insight into life — would bear abundant spiritual fruit.

Understanding is key. There is a category that never makes it to the sprouting stage. The seed gobbled up by the birds represents those who do not understand at all and show no desire to learn. They are spiritually dead. This is living completely at the physical level.

Returning to the passage from Isaiah: the Word of God has gone forth and is at work on our behalf. What sort of soil do we provide for the seed scattered by the sower?

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