Grace to you!
The effect of water to flourishing of vegetation and thereby food production and supply is well known. Appealing to this imagery of water to farming, the prophecy of Isaiah (55:10-11) announces the fruitfulness of God’s Word.
This word breathes, reinvigorates and is life itself. In itself (him) is life and light for humanity (Jn 1:4). Whether God’s word falls on the arid soil or the fertile ground, its life-giving power is intact.
This word is Jesus Christ. The sower of the word is Jesus too, as he shared his life with us through all he said and did. He continues to do so through the sacraments and his word in Scripture. Jesus’ works reflect his identity, just as his word reflects his being.
We, as his missionary disciples, become evangelists ourselves insofar as we preach him crucified, his words and his life. All we do in church is immersion into this Word (him).
Note that the mission of the Word, Christ, is salvation. And the prophecy of Isaiah 55:10-11 says that God’s word must accomplish its mission. So Christ did. The Lord coming on earth was for salvation so we can have life in abundance, since salvation is abundant life in Christ. That mission was definitively accomplished on the wood of the cross and the chants of victory resounded on Easter morn.
But this mission has another dimension. Just as we hear Jesus, describe at least four types of recipients—the path, rocky ground, thorns, and fertile soil (Mt 13:2-9)—so also we have four classes of recipient. Look around, you will probably observe that barely one in four people receive the word and allow it to bear fruit. Not that this parable is to be interpreted literarily, but it has some semblance to stats around us.
Take the USA for example. There are about 320+ million people. Only one in four are Catholics and only about one in four registered 7.7 million USA Catholics are regular worshipers. Consider other Christian denominations in the USA too; only about one in four are regular to their services.
The fact is that many people choose not to allow their hearts to be a fertile place where Christ's life will blossom. This doesn't make the word less effective. It’s simply that the recipient is less receptive.
The word is granted to us as gift, because it is grace. We chose to accept this gift or not to do so. There is wisdom in the church's teaching on the objective and subjective dimensions of salvation economy. Salvation in Christ is to be accepted by the individual who has the will to say yes or no to it.
It is in this sense we see how Christ makes one heart aglow with the aroma of grace and holiness because that person is well disposed and gives Christ access to every aspect of his or her life. But the person who shuts Christ out as he stands at the door knocking, does not grow and bear fruits.
God’s Word is inviting us to be the fertile ground so we can produce fruits—a hundred, a fifty and a thirty fold. Fruitfulness for his children is what Christ is all for. Fruitfulness is salvation.
Let's open our hearts to Christ so his life-giving grace will refresh our spirits. Amen.
God love you. God bless you
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[15h Sunday Ordinary Time A: Is 55:10-11; Rm 8:18-23; Mt 13:1-23]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.