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  • Writer's pictureDeacon Bob Evans

Are We Ready?


The people of God have always been at odds with the world. Sometimes the conflict is very intense, sometimes not. I’m confident that many of us can recall when we were children. Back then, Christianity was not only tolerated but much of our laws, social policies and traditions were based on what are known as Judeo-Christian values. That all seems to be gone now. Our churches are being vandalized; our children are being targeted; long-held truths of nature are being discarded by many. There is growing disillusionment. We are clearly at odds with the world today.

In the Liturgy of the Word, we hear Scripture passages that have been selected

to give us insights, encouragement, and preparation for what is to come.

Every Catholic mass begins with the Liturgy of the Word; in the Liturgy of the Word, we hear Scripture passages that have been selected to give us insights, encouragement, and preparation for what is to come. In the near term, what is to come is the Liturgy of the Eucharist, where we receive Jesus Himself. In the longer term, what is to come awaits us just outside our door – the world.

The First Reading, for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time speaks of the earth yielding a fruitful harvest when it is blessed with the rain and the snow that falls from heaven [cf. Isa 55:10a] in the same way that God’s word descends from heaven to do His will “achieving the end for which it was sent” [Isa 55:10b]. And the Gospel reading speaks of soil that “produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold” [Mt 13:8b].

What are the insights, encouragement, and preparation intended for us?

Wonderful imagery, comforting words, but most of us are not farmers. We may do a little gardening, but identifying with “soil,” or “bearing fruit” doesn’t really connect that well with our life circumstances. What are these readings saying to us? What are the insights, encouragement, and preparation intended for us?

Let’s consider the soil that yielded a fruitful harvest. Why was that soil fruitful, and what might that have to do with us? Well, we have the benefit of Jesus Himself explaining the parable. Briefly He said that God is the Sower and Jesus, the Word of God, is the seed. The theme that runs through the First Reading and the Gospel informs us that we, the soil, cannot be nourished to be fruitful if we are not open to Jesus and His words.

What are the insights, encouragement, and preparation intended for us?

That’s the lesson in these Scripture readings for our times. For, over the course of the last several decades, many people have moved from tacit acceptance of Jesus and His followers; to bland indifference; to outright hostility. And we, Jesus’ followers, stand in the breach. So how are we to respond? We have the insight; we have the encouragement but what are we being prepared for? What is our part?

It seems that our part in this is to be nourished by both the challenge and by the grace that Jesus gives. It is from the Sacraments, instituted by Christ and entrusted to His Church, that we are filled with the grace we need to face the challenge. It is “out there” that we must stand firm and say, “No” to the promptings to conform to the ways of the world; “No” to the indoctrination of our children; “No” to what is not right and the tearing of the very fabric of what our nation stands for.

We, symbolized by that soil nourished from heaven,

are to do more than just “grin and bear it” in the world.

These Scripture passages reassure us that, in spite of how troubled things seem in the world around us, all things have their purpose. We, symbolized by that soil nourished from heaven, are to do more than just “grin and bear it” in the world. We must respond by speaking truth. We have faith in God, we have faith in our country, and we have faith in one another. God has been preparing us, are we ready?

‘Till next time,

Dcn Bob Evans

July 18, 2023

Scripture references

Isaiah 55:10-11; Matthew 13:1-23

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