1 Corinthians 15:35-37, 42-49
Psalm 56:10c-12, 13-14
Today’s Gospel makes a distinction between the large crowd and Jesus’ disciples. The crowd searches for Jesus and, when they find him, listen to his parables about the Kingdom of God. The disciples, on the other hand, follow Jesus and not only listen to the parables, but are granted revealed knowledge of the mystery of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus wants the people in the crowd to become his disciples. In fact, after the parable, Jesus cries out: “Listen, anyone who has ears to hear”. It is the cry of one who loves them. It is an invitation to hear and understand, to enter into communion with him.
The seed is the Word of God. It is sown generously and constantly. We encounter this Word in Scripture, in prayer, in love. The Word stands at the door of our heart and knocks (Revelation 3:20). Some never open the door. The Word remains on the edge of the path. Instead of welcoming the Word, they listen to the devil, who comes and carries away the word from their hearts. The devil seeks to frustrate the plan of God and prevent us from believing and being saved.
Others in the crowd hear the Word and welcome it. But their joy lasts only for a time. When trial comes they turn away from the Word. It was a superficial welcome because they were deaf to Jesus’ teaching about suffering, the Cross, perseverance. Instead of seeing suffering as redemptive, instead of seeing sacrifice as an act of love, instead of fixing their eyes on the ultimate goal, they see suffering, sacrifice and trials as something to be avoided.
Still others welcome the Word for a time, but little by little choose the world with its worries, riches and pleasures. Jesus teaches us a different path. We are not to worry because our heavenly Father will take care of us. It is more important to store up riches in heaven than riches on earth. We are not to make passing pleasures our goal, but rather eternal happiness. This doesn’t mean that we should stop working, or not make money, or not enjoy life. But all three need to be seen in the light of eternity. We work to provide for our families and to create a more just society. This goal of earthly progress, however, is ordered to another: the growth of Christ’s Kingdom (see Second Vatican Council II, Gaudium et spes, 39).
Finally, there are those who have a noble and generous heart, who hear the Word of God and welcome it, and yield a harvest through perseverance. What is the mystery of the Kingdom revealed in today’s First Reading? What is it that we are called to welcome into our hearts today?
Paul teaches that the first man, Adam, is earthly, and that the new man, Jesus, is heavenly. We bear the image of both. Through our first birth, we are sons and daughters of Adam; through our rebirth in the Spirit, we are sons and daughters of God in Jesus Christ. Because of disobedience and sin, the first birth ends in the corruption of death; because of obedience and grace, the second birth leads to the resurrection of life.
And so, will we focus our lives exclusively on what is corruptible, dishonorable, weak and natural? Or will we look at all these things in the light of what is incorruptible, honorable, powerful and spiritual?
Readers may contact Fr Jason Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.