15th Sunday year A 2020

Can you hear me?  Its good that you can hear.  Can you listen?  And if you can listen, what are you listening to?

Often people say there’s nothing but bad news.  Well, let me tell you some good news.  And if you can hear me, I want you to make sure you can listen.  And if you are listening, I want you to make sure you take it to heart.  Jesus Christ is Lord.  Jesus Christ suffered, died, and was raised so that you might have forgiveness of sins and life eternally.  Jesus Christ gives you his love, so that you may receive divine love which satisfies, fulfills, and brings joy. 

Now, what does that mean more practically?  As St. Paul says in our second reading, “the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”  That “creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.”  We have the hope, informed by our faith, and experienced through his love, that our savior Jesus Christ is here to nourish and guide us to life eternal, to restoration of life and joyful fulfillment for eternity.

To explain this, Jesus gives the parable of the seeds.  One of the reasons I like this parable is because its one of the few that Jesus actual explains in detail the meaning.  But along with what he says, one can get more specific on what Jesus is trying to say.  Namely, that Jesus who has come bringing good news, spreading these seeds of faith, that when properly nourished, will grow abundantly, and much will be given to those who have it. 

The key is how well one is able to hear these words, and Jesus gives four examples.

Many people on the path hear about the gospel, about Jesus Christ, but pay little heed to it.  For whatever reason, the word just doesn’t catch their attention.  Perhaps out of cynicism or pride, but nothing ever takes root.

Then there are those of the rocky soil who may like the idea of Jesus, the gospel, heaven and all that, but they fail to understand how important it is to hold on to it, so they are unable and unwilling to endure trials and sacrifice. 

Then the ones among thorns.  That trouble is that they are hearing way too many voices.  Their attention is drawn toward so many things, that hearing and listening to Jesus simply gets muffled out.  This is the voice of the world, which says, “you need this, you need that, these things are better worth your time and effort.”  Thus the word of God has little room to grow and withers.

But finally that ones on good soil.  Those who are able to hear, they listen, and they make those words a part of their life.  Through them, God is able to produce an abundant harvest.

So with all that said, how does one best be able to listen to the voice of God?  The best way to hear about the gospel, is to experience the gospel in action.  To witness acts of charity, to be shown love, to see people confident in their faith.  To hear stories of forgiveness.  To see and hear everyday people live their Christian lives in everyday ways.  Acts of kindness, speaking about Jesus, not living in fear, but living in joyful hope.  Those are the seeds that are planted, and Jesus nourishes such seeds to grow abundantly. 

There will always be competing voices, difficult situations and trials, frustrations with ourselves and others, but if you keep your ears open to the Good News, the good news named Jesus Christ, you will find abundance of joy, of peace, of fulfillment, and life eternal.