Today is the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, which means that Catholics are approaching the midway mark between Lent/Easter and Advent/Christmas. I have to admit that some weeks I like the readings more than others, but this week was right up my alley.
The response in today’s Psalm (65:11 – 14) went like this: “The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.” My ears perked up more than usual.
Then the Gospel reading came from Matthew, chapter 13:1 – 23. Jesus’ parable in these passages involves the ability of seeds to grow in differing types of soil. He tells his listeners that, as a man was sowing seeds, some were cast onto the edge of path, and the birds ate them. Other seeds fell into rocky soil and did begin to grow, but because they lacked deep roots, the sun scorched them. Some seeds fell among thorns and were choked out. Yet some seeds landed in the rich soil and produced yields far beyond expectations.
This story is not really talking about seeds and crops, of course. The Word has to land where it can be nourished, and then it will thrive. Sometimes the Word is snatched up and silenced before willing ears can hear it; sometimes the Word lands where it can only live for a short time and dies quickly when the first hardship comes along; and sometimes the Word is smothered by the harshest aspects of life before it can even get started.
Certainly, the message is religious, all about taking Jesus Christ’s teaching and being the “good ground” that will result in a “fruitful harvest.” But I couldn’t help applying this parable to everyday life too: if we want to a harvest beyond our wildest dreams, we have got to be the fertile soil where good secular political ideas can grow. If we are focused on despising “liberals,” refusing to fund state agencies and stalling the federal government, then too many good ideas for truly making life better are going to be lost to a variety of real-life scenarios.