Ordinary Time 15, Year A
- God’s stream is filled with water; with it you supply the world with grain (Ps. 65:10)
The fullness of his goodness and love brimming over abundantly, God sent forth and gave us his word that he guaranteed would not return to him void, but would do his will and accomplish the mission it was given. Such was God’s overflowing prodigality that when he went to sow the seed of his word, he scattered the seed all over without regard to whether the seed would fall on a path, rocky ground, among thorns or rich soil.
This flawless, right, true, creative, healing, sweet to the taste, enlightening, effective, refreshing, life-giving, jolting, too, and striking word has become definitive, of course, in these last days in the Word who became flesh (Ps. 12:6; 33:4, 6; 107:20; 119:103, 104; 147:18; Jer. 23:29; Heb. 4:12; 1:1-2; Jn. 1:14). And in Jesus, the Word made flesh, the seed and soil are one and the same. He is the perfect word God has addressed to human beings. He is also the perfect response a human being has ever given to God, a response that no other human being can and will ever surpass.
Jesus is God’s perfect word. After all, as Jn. 1: 1-5 proclaims: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.”
Moreover, Heb. 1:2-3 affirms that Jesus, the son through whom God spoke to us human beings finally in these last days, is the “refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word.” And for its part, Col. 2:9 declares that in Christ “dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily.” That Christ Jesus did not regard equality with God something to be grasped did not at all mean, of course, that he was not in the form of God (cf. Phil. 2:6).
And Jesus is a human being’s perfect response to God’s word. He is not one who hears God’s word without understanding it so that the evil one can come and easily steal away the seed sown. In fact, Jesus resisted the evil one who, quoting Scripture out of context and misunderstanding it, abused it to suit his purpose and in view of exploiting the vulnerable—the hungry and thirsty and poor—without the slightest intention to teach God’s will (Mt. 4:1-11). In his rebutting the tempter’s arguments, Jesus showed he understood God’s word.
Obvious, of course, in Jesus’ acceptance of his passion and death was his not falling away when the word elicited opposition, tribulation and persecution. He is the first of those who consider the sufferings of this present time to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed. He is the leader of those who regard their groaning as labor pains leading to a glorious birth to freedom and redemption.
And Jesus taught the blessedness of poverty and trust in Divine Providence. He not only taught, but above all he lived his teaching to the utmost. Thoroughly authentic, Jesus proved he did not let worldly anxiety and the lure of riches to choke God’s word in him to infertility.
It goes without saying that Jesus is the rich soil. He is “the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” And thanks to Jesus’ fertility and productivity, to the fullness of his grace, in other words, fertility, productivity and grace are guaranteed to those who hear God’s word and observe or act on it (cf. Jn. 1:16; Eph. 4:13; Col. 2:10; Lk. 8:20; 11:28).
Because of God’s prodigality, hearing is the easy part, for it given to whoever has ears, the same one who ought to hear. But to understand and keep the word, to dare to believe the gospel, is given only to disciples, that is to say, to those who press close enough to Jesus and persevere until they understand the rest of his teaching and really get his point (cf. and ).
More than just hearing Jesus, discipleship means, therefore, taking Jesus in intimate communion and remaining in such communion. It is staying where people—Jew or Greek, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, male or female, rich or poor, but all freed from prejudice and self-righteousness—dwell as one. And there the Lord has lavished blessings, life for evermore (cf. Ps. 133).