Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 10th, 2011 - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s readings, like last week’s, ask us to meditate on Israel’s response to God’s Word—and our own. Why do some hear the word of the kingdom, yet fail to accept it as a call to conversion and faith in Jesus? That question underlies today’s Gospel, especially.

Again we see, as we did last week, that the kingdom’s mysteries are unfolded to those who open their hearts, making of them a rich soil in the which the Word can grow and bear fruit.

We have for our First Reading a poetic section from the final chapter of The Book of Consolation also known as Second Isaiah. This chapter opens with the famous verses about the invitation to “come to the water all you who are thirsty.” 

As we sing in today’s Psalm (Responsorial Psalm: 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14), in Jesus, God’s Word has visited our land, to water the stony earth of our hearts with the living waters of the Spirit

See also: John 7:38 --> Whoever believes in me, as scripture says: 'Rivers of living water 14 will flow from within him.'"

Revelation 22:1  -->Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, 1sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
The response in our Responsorial Psalm is from Luke 8:8 --> The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.

The firstfruit of the Word is the Spirit of love and adoption poured into our hearts in baptism, making us children of God, as Paul reminds us in today’s Epistle

See Romans 5:5   -->  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Romans 8:15-16  -->For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, "Abba, 3 Father!"
The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God
In this, we are made a “new creation” (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), the firstfruits of a new heaven and a new earth (see 2 Peter 3:13).

2 Corinthians 5:17  --> So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Peter 3:13  -->   But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth 11 in which righteousness dwells.

Since the first humans rejected God’s Word, creation has been enslaved to futility (see Genesis 3:17-19; 5:29). But God’s Word does not go forth only to return to Him void, as we hear in today’s First Reading.

Genesis 3:17-19  -->  To the man he said: "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat, "Cursed be the ground because of you! In toil shall you eat its yield all the days of your life.
Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, as you eat of the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat, Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return."
Genesis 5:29  -->   3and named him Noah, saying, "Out of the very ground that the LORD has put under a curse, this one shall bring us relief from our work and the toil of our hands."
His Word awaits our response. We must show ourselves to be children of that Word. We must allow that Word to accomplish God’s will in our lives. As Jesus warns today, we must take care lest the devil steal it away or lest it be choked by worldly concerns.

In the Eucharist, the Word gives himself to us as bread to eat. He does so that we might be made fertile, yielding fruits of holiness.

And we await the crowning of the year, the great harvest of the Lord’s Day (see Mark 4:29; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 1:10)—when His Word will have achieved the end for which it was sent.

Mark 4:29  -->  And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.
2 Peter 3:10  -->  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, 8 and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.

Revelation 1:10  -->I was caught up in spirit on the Lord's day 9 and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet


Larry Gillick, S. J., of Creighton University’s Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality writes this:

In the next several weeks we will be hearing parables. These are easy-to-remember stories which can have several interpretations. They are meant to catch the attention of the listeners and are invitations to the listeners to find their places in the stories.

I taught poetry to second-year high school students, or at least it was attempted. Their usual response was, “Why doesn’t the guy just come right out and say it?” Why doesn’t Jesus come right out and say it? The “it” here is the mystery of the kingdom and there were those who listened for insights and head-knowing, but they were not letting “it” get close, inside and permanent.

Knowledge and insights do not save. Answers invite only more questions. Parables are for those who know beyond knowledge. They hear and see beyond senses. Tribulations, persecutions, worldly fears and the desires for riches are all parts of our human soil. The Word of God, Jesus, has come to identify the soil, improve it and assist its knowing and growing.

We are in the heart of Matthew’s semester-course on who Jesus is and who does his coming make us. We are in the school of intimacy. The closer he comes to our part of the soil the more fruitful we become and he will not leave us to ourselves. By ourselves we will whither and default to our beaten-pathness. By ourselves we will be choked by our own greed and self-centered demands.

Fruitful living is how people live under the influence of the person of Jesus. As we reflected upon in last week's liturgy, relationships change the persons in the relationship. Usually the intimacy of the relationship brings about changes which are not immediately perceived by the relaters. Others see changes and the changes are usually defined as being more alive, more spirited, more who they have always wanted to be. Ideas don’t change us much or very deeply. The influence of the significant people in our lives changes us far beyond the power of thought. God so loved the world that God did not send an idea or a book. God rained down the grace within the person of Jesus the Word who remains until the good earth remembers who it is. So God did come right out and say it!
What remains is our staying attentive not to Jesus as teacher or idea-giver, but to Jesus who desires lovingly to bring God’s goodness out of our good soil. 

1) Scott Hahn, Ph.D. 

3) Godspell clip

4) LivingWatersGraphic

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