15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
IS 55:1-10 / Ps 65: 10, 11, 12-13, 14 / Rom 8: 18 – 23 / Mt 13: 1-9
My dad loves to grow Orchids. I am grateful that he goes through all of the hard work and spends the time needed to grow these beautiful plants but I will never follow in my father’s footsteps and try to grow orchids because while I have no trouble caring for a dog or a gold fish, plants are another story and it seems like every time I try to care for a plant it dies. A little while ago as a joke some of my friends bought me a cactus telling me that I should be able to care for it but I promptly gave it away because while I’m sure I could probably care for a cactus, I won’t simply because I don’t want to have to live with the embarrassment if it does die.
While I don’t have the skills to care for plants I am fascinated by the skill it takes and while I don’t grow plants I find myself curiously watching my dad care for his orchids. As I have watched him care for his orchids over the years I have learned that caring for plants is so much more than just planting the seed and watering the plants. Taking care of plants, as any of you who do know, takes allot of time and dedication. Watching my dad I have learned that while sunlight and water are important it seems that the soil is most important. Someone can water the plant, give it all the sunlight it needs and nurture the plant perfectly, but if the soil is bad the plant will die.
The seed of faith has been planted in each one of us by our parents, a friend, or other people who lead us to the Church and the sacrament of baptism, but ultimately it is God Himself who using our parents or a friend first sowed the seed of faith in our life. God does not simply sow the seed of faith in our lives and then leave us alone to be sure it blossoms, no our God is a God of relationship so He sows the seed and then provides all of the nutrients we need to flourish. While God is there caring for us every step of the way, providing all that we need, we must be sure that the soil is fertile so the seed of faith can grow and take root in our lives.
Has our soil become pathway where the seed lands and is simply swallowed up? Have we given up on our faith, or has our faith become lukewarm? Is our soil that soil which is rocky where the plant springs up but quickly fades away and dies? Do we actively engage our faith only at certain moments and then put it on the back burner at other moments. Or is our soil the fertile soil that enables the seed of faith to take root and bear much fruit.
The first requirement of fertile soil is that it must be rich in nutrients. God Himself provides those nutrients for us primarily in the sacraments. There is not greater way to nurture the seed of faith in our life than to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass frequently. When we participate in the celebration of Holy Mass the seed of the Word of God is sowed as we listen to the readings from Sacred Scripture and then the seed of faith is nourished as we receive Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in Holy Communion.
God provides all that we need, but we need to nurture the soil so why not take the opportunity to prayerfully read the readings for Mass ahead of time, or why not arrive at Mass a few moments early to quietly prepare ourselves. In addition to attending Mass at a minimum on Sunday would not our soil be more fertile if we took the opportunity to frequently receive the sacrament of Confession, taking time daily to pray and read sacred scripture, perhaps attend Mass sometime during the week or stop by to visit Him in the Adoration Chapel?
God Himself, has done the sowing, He provides all that we need for that seed to grow and bear much fruit but we must be sure the soil is fertile. As we approach this altar, where we will receive Jesus Himself, let us examine our lives, see what kind of soil the seed of faith has been planted on in our lives and that ask Jesus to help us fertilize our soil to make it capable of receiving the seed of faith and the nutrients that He sows for us. As we approach to receive Jesus Himself let us make a firm commitment to do our part in fertilizing the soul in which the seed of faith has been sown.