15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” In the parable of the sower that Jesus tells in today’s Gospel, the ideal is to be “the seed sown on rich soil” that yields an abundant harvest. As Jesus explains, this means we should strive to be “the one who hears the word and understands it.”
So how do we place ourselves in this category? How do we assure that we will hear God’s voice (i.e., the word) and actually understand what he’s saying to us? The answer comes in the parable itself. Jesus explains what we need to avoid in order to make sure our seed bears fruit.
First, we must beware of “the evil one” who comes and steals away the seed of God’s word. Faithfully praying the Lord’s Prayer, with its request to “deliver us from evil,” is a good starting point here. Placing ourselves under God’s protection every day is like taking up a shield against the forces that would seek to derail us.
Secondly, we must be committed enough to God’s word that “tribulation or persecution” do not uproot us or make our faith wither and die. Here, too, sincerely praying the petition in the Lord’s Prayer—“Thy will be done”—can prepare us to accept whatever comes our way without waffling or wavering.
Finally, we must be careful that “worldly anxiety and the lure of riches” do not “choke” us. Again, we turn to the Lord’s Prayer and find an antidote built in: “Give us this day our daily bread.” We pray not for a new car or a winning lottery ticket, but for our basic needs.
So let us embrace the prayer Jesus gave us, indeed the words he himself gave us to say, as we seek to truly hear and understand God’s word.
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