15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2017

15A.  Isaiah 55:10-11.   Nature prepares the earth with rain and snow to make the soil fertile so that it will be fruitful.  Nature desires life in abundance.  The Holy Spirit prepares souls so that the word of grace that issues from God’s mouth will do his Will, making souls holy, preparing them to be with The Father in his heavenly household, as his sons and daughters. God’s Will is to share Himself, his love, his life infinitely.  His end, intent is that those who choose life shall have life forever and that those who choose death shall have their choice granted them.  “Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say and speak.  And I know that his commandment is eternal life.  So what I say, I say as the Father told me.” (John 12:48-50)

Matthew 13:1-23.  “The disciples of Jesus approached him and said, ’Why do you speak to them in parables?’”  Unlike the soil on which the sun and the rain and the snow fall, we humans can choose not to be nourished and be made fertile by the word and the grace of God and to make ourselves like the hardened path, the rocky ground, the ground with thorns so that we are not like the rich soil that could produce abundantly.  “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Mt. 7:6)  Parables were meant to protect what is holy from those who did not choose to grow holy in the Spirit.  “This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen and understand.” “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.”  ‘Gross’, that is to say dull, thick or hardheaded, with a stoneheart, they have chosen to shut out anything that might invade and possibly destroy a false vision or mental construct of a world they have embraced and given themselves over to. To his disciples who entrusted their hearts and minds to Jesus and grew daily in him, Jesus explains the parables.  “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.”  Without an ongoing growing commitment to God, what is holy, spiritual, sacred makes little or no sense.  Outsiders who have other values and commitments in life cannot make any sense out of submission to an Almighty who is the one and only truth that exists.  “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.  How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” (Mt. 7:13-14)

Romans 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.”  Paul’s faith in Christ leads him to endure suffering for a glorious reward in heaven.  “We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even 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.”  What God has created, a world order, is groaning to “be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God,” desiring to be no longer a world where the devil roams tempting the children of God but to be a world, along with our physical bodies,  adopted and redeemed with our bodies.  “For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality.” (1 Cor15:53)