ON THIS FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME we are treated to one of the great parables of Jesus about the sower and the seed. At one point when Jesus talks about what happens to certain seeds depending on where the seeds fall, He says: “But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Matthew 13:8-9) What is this fruit that Jesus speaks of? In Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 5:22 he writes the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are the fruits of the Spirit that we learned of in preparation to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Think of how beautiful our world would be if every man, woman and child produced these fruits 100 percent all the time – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. We truly would experience heaven on earth! Jesus has a plan for our world, that we would form a new society where these fruits would be practiced by everyone, a new society which would be a most beautiful society in which to live. That society has not yet come into existence because none of us is yet producing these fruits 100 percent of the time, let alone that not every person is on the same page with Jesus. Jesus gives reasons why. Some people allow the evil one to take the Word from their minds and hearts. These are the people who receive the seed on the edge of the path. They hear the word of God but don’t believe its promises. They have heard the teachings of Jesus but don’t take Him seriously. They are the people who forget the meaning of life, who live as if God doesn’t exist, people who forget that in this life we are only passing through. In Ephesians 1:18 we read a prayer which goes like this, “May the Father enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit…” Folks, if we forget what hope God’s call holds for us, or what rich glories God has promised us, then we will not produce fruit and we will be like the seed sown at the edge of the path. In his first letter Saint John wrote, “Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children, and that is what we are.” (1 John 3:1) If we don’t believe with all our hearts that we really are children of God since we were baptized then we will not produce the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. Is it because we don’t believe fully the promises of God? Is it because we are like seed sown on the edge of the path and allow the evil one to carry off the Word from our hearts? Of course the second group who do not produce 100 percent fruit are those who fall away when some trial comes or some persecution. These people are like the seed sown on patches of rock, they spring up straight away but have no root and give up following Jesus when it gets tough. When the culture of the world is different from the new society Jesus wants to found they are afraid to take their stand for Jesus and so no fruit is produced. Then there is the third group Jesus lists – those who allow the worries of the world or the lure and temptations of riches to choke His message in us. They have forgotten that hearses do not pull trailers after them loaded up with the possessions of the deceased (remember, you can’t take it with you)! These people are like the seed that fell among thorns and the thorns that choked Jesus’ message are the worries of the world and the lure of riches. Then there is the fourth group Jesus names – those who produce fruit from His message. They are the ones who received the seed in rich soil and yielded a harvest, now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty. They are the ones who allowed the eyes of their mind to be enlightened so that they could see what hope God’s call held for them, and what rich glories the saints are promised to inherit. They are, in the words of James 1:22: “doers of the Word, not hearers only.” Folks, may God the Father enlighten our minds and set our hearts aflame so that we can see what hope His call holds for us, embrace and live His word, undergo a radical transformation of mind and heart and our very lives so that we can experience the rich glories He has promised the saints will inherit, so that we may receive the Word of God in rich soil and yield a harvest, now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.
QUICK HEATH UPDATE: My first follow-up with the surgeon took place this past week, and he is quite pleased with my post-surgical healing and my overall progress – if the surgeon is happy, I am happy. First meeting with the oncologist is this coming week – I will keep you apprised of this next step in my overall progress in ridding my colon of cancer.
Fr. Mike Lumpe