July 16, 2017
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our responsorial psalm today is a beautiful song of the joy of the Earth, putting forth its bounty and rejoicing in its fruitfulness. We are filled with joy when we see images of the earth blooming. So many people describe their experience of God’s presence in their appreciation of nature’s beauty. This alone is good reason to protect the beauty and wholeness of nature. “You have visited the land and watered it, / greatly have you enriched it. / God’s watercourses are filled; / you have prepared the grain” (Psalm 65:10). Sadly, we do many things to destroy nature, even though it belongs ultimately to God and to all people: “[A]ll creation is groaning in labor pains even until now” (Romans 8:22).

YOU HAVE CROWNED THE YEAR WITH YOUR BOUNTY
“My word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). Nature and people rejoice at these words, for they not only describe the beauty and fruitfulness of nature’s gifts, which “shout and sing for joy” (Psalm 65:14), but profess a profound truth. This truth is that God’s word is living and effective; that is, it accomplishes what it says. When God speaks a word of comfort or correction, what is said is done in its fullness.

THE SOWER SOWS THE SEED
Haven’t we all wondered sometimes which kind of ground we are as the seed falls? Do we spring up with joy, but then whither because the word has not taken root in us? Are we so tied up in worry and concern for material wellbeing that the word is choked off in us with cares? Or are we the rich soil on which the word of God falls, bearing rich fruit in our lives and making the lives of others better? We are probably all of these at one time or another in our lives. As we concern ourselves with these thoughts, we can hope that we are or are becoming the rich soil of open souls, open to God’s effective word in us. If we are devoted to God, we ask God for help to be the souls who are receptive to God’s word every day.
There are those who “shall indeed hear but not understand . . . look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people” (Matthew 13:14-15). They shall not be converted and healed. But those who concern themselves with the things of God “see what you see” and “hear what you hear” (Matthew 13:16) and rejoice in God’s wonderful gifts on this Earth. Blessed are those who are the good soil who hear the word of God and keep it.

Today’s Readings: Is 55:10-11; Ps 65:10-14; Rom 8:18-23; Mt 13:1-23 [1-9]
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READINGS FOR JULY 17 THRU JULY 23

Monday: Ex 1:8-14, 22; Ps 124:1b-8; Mt 10:34 — 11:1  
Tuesday: Ex 2:1-15a; Ps 69:3, 14, 30-31, 33-34; Mt 11:20-24  
Wednesday: Ex 3:1-6, 9-12; Ps 103:1b-4, 6-7; Mt 11:25-27  
Thursday: Ex 3:13-20; Ps 105:1, 5, 8-9, 24-27; Mt 11:28-30  
Friday:  Ex 11:10 — 12:14; Ps 116:12-13, 15, 16bc, 17-18; Mt 12:1-8  
Saturday: Ex 12:37-42; Ps 136:1, 23-24, 10-15; Jn 20:1-2, 11-18  
Sunday: Wis 12:13, 16-19; Ps 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16; Rom 8:26-27; Mt 13:24-43