RECEIVING THE WORD
Fifteenth Sunday of the Year A, July 12, 2020
First Reading: Is 55: 10-11. God cares for the earth. He sends for the rain to make it fruitful. He cares for us and He sends His word.
Second Reading: Rom 8: 18-23. The glory that awaits us in the life is far better and grand compare to the suffering of this present life.
Gospel: Mt 13: 1-23. Jesus compares the word of God to a seed falling into the ground.
In order to respond to God’s word, one needs to receive it first, treasure it, and put it into practice. But what do we hear often from people who have exactly receive, treasure and put into practice the word of God? they say, “the more I practice, the worse I get.” All of us can feel like that at times. Maybe we are not getting worse, but we are not improving much either. Think of how many times we have heard the word of God since the day we were baptised. Why haven’t we improved? The answer to this question lies in the parable Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel.
It is important to note that in only one case was the word rejected outright. In the other three cases, the word was received with joy. Then we realise that the problem is not in receiving God’s word. It is rather in treasuring and putting it into practice. There are therefore, three steps involved in responding to God’s word: Receiving it, treasuring it, and practicing it. Let us have a closer look at each step.
The first step is hearing or receiving the word of God. we can call it the mind step. It involves listening attentively to Scriptures being read and explained. In the context of the mass (Eucharist), if you missed the hearing or receiving step, the second and third steps are already lost. The mind step or the receiving step is very important. That’s why it is always recommendable for us to come to church early, sit in at least 10 to 15 minutes before the mass starts. To prepare ourselves for this first step of the hearing of the word of God. sometimes we can be in church while the word is being read and broken to us but our mind is not present.
The second step is treasuring God’s word. We can call it the heart step. It involves taking to heart the word we have just heard. This step is very important in our life as it involves taking to heart the word we have just heard. We meditate, pray about the word and its implications for our life and how we can improve our life for the better. This step doesn’t necessarily take place in church. It may begin in church but it continues during the week ahead, as we think and pray about the word we heard on Sunday. It helps us to examine our conscience, and our way of life. This step also helps us to share the word with others. When asked what did you learn from today’s church service, we need to be able to explain this heart step.
The third step is putting God’s word into practice. If we can call the first step, the mind step, the second step, the heart step, then this third step can be called the soul step. This step involves acting on what our mind has received and what our heart has treasured.
So, there are three steps in hearing the word of God: the mind step-receiving or hearing the word; the heart step-treasuring the word; and the soul step-putting it into practice.
Have we ever wondered why we are not better practicing Catholics? Today’s Gospel may have an important message for us. If we are not better practicing Catholics, maybe because we are not responding to God’s word with our whole mind, our whole heart and our whole soul. The Gospel message today is a call for us to start responding to God’s word with all our mind, heart and soul.
Jesus, I trust in You.