A Word #154| 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time| July 16, 2017

"But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold."

Life is full of choices! Sometimes I think that life is one giant multiple choice exam. Obviously there are some choices where we know that they are clearly wrong but sometimes the examination of life presents choices that sometimes can be confusing. Sometimes the choices presented to us are all correct but there is always one answer that is better than all the others. I always found those kinds of exams to be the most challenging! All the choices are good and right but there is one that the teacher or professor wants us to select over all the rest. As we come to find out, the answer is more accurate and precise than the other right answers. As much as education and even life presents us with similar multiple choice tests, so does our Christian life!

The readings for this Sunday guide us on the ability to select the correct answer as it comes to our relationship and friendship with God. The answer in the multiple choice exam of this relationship is often clear and precise but sometimes it is not easy to select or be comfortable with our answer even though it is the right one! The good news of this Sunday's Eucharist invite us to choose the Word made flesh who is Jesus Himself. 

Beginning with the First Reading, the prophet Isaiah reminds Israel and the new Israel which is us the Church, that the Word of God, the same Word that spoke and everything came into being at the Creation, the same Word that spoke to Abraham, Moses, Isaiah and all the Patriarchs and Prophets of the Old Testament has always been and will always be the answer to all life's questions and answers. He or she who accepts and is comfortable with the answer of the Word of God will never fail the test of life. Choosing the Word establishes a relationship which will always sustain us in this life and into the next!

In the Gospel, Jesus builds on the imagery of the Prophet Isaiah but illustrating the choices that life brings to us in our relationship with Him the Word made flesh. In this parable Jesus demonstrates several options or scenarios that we may encounter in our relationship and journey of faith with Him. Like a multiple choice test, these examples are all true and depending on where we are in our lives we may find ourselves in one or all of these situations. Jesus' examples don't apply to one person or another, rather each of us have at one time answered or fallen in each of these scenarios. Yet like one of those challenging multiple choice exams, there is one that is more right and acceptable than the others! That is the seed that falls on rich soil. In our life of faith, we must cultivate the soil of our life, with the nourishment of having a relationship with Jesus by living the Sacraments, prayer, and generous service to one and all! 

If we cultivate rich soil in living such a sacramental, prayerful, and service-oriented life we may choose the right answer in life. When the Word comes to us in the Eucharist or where it is lived outside this celebration, we may be able to choose correctly in whatever scenario or question life presents to us. We know life is not easy and the relationship that the Word wants to give us is not a given but something that takes work, yet in all things it isn't impossible. This cultivate the rich soil of faith in the one who loves you the most!

Yours in Christ,


Fr. John