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Scripture of the Week

DAILY SCRIPTURES

Reflection on the DAILY SCRIPTURES can be found at the following links:

'Our Daily Prayer' - Jesuit Communications (Australia) 

Commentaries on the Daily Readings from SACREDSPACE (Ireland) 

Readings and Reflections on the day's Scripture (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) 

Daily Readings and Reflections (Passionist Fathers - USA) 

Commentary on the Gospel Reading for each day of the month (Dominican Fathers - Ireland)  

SUNDAY SCRIPTURES

Reflect on the Sunday Scriptures with:

Sr. Veronica Lawson rsm   SEE BELOW

Fr. John Thornhill  click here

GOSPEL AND REFLECTION

SUNDAY 12 JULY 2020: FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME A

First Reading - Is 55:10-11

The rain makes the earth fruitful.

Thus says the Lord: ‘As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.’

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 64:10-14. R. Lk 8:8

(R.) The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.

Second Reading - Rom 8:18-23

All creation is waiting for the revelation of the children of God.

I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us. The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons. It was not for any fault on the part of creation that it was made unable to attain its purpose, it was made so by God; but creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us, from its slavery to decadence, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God. From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia!

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;

all who come to him will live for ever.

Alleluia!

Gospel - Mt 13:1-23

A sower went out to sow.

Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.

He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’

Then the disciples went up to him and asked, ‘Why do you talk to them in parables?’ ‘Because’ he replied ‘the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them. For anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding. So in their case this prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled:

You will listen and listen again, but not understand,

see and see again, but not perceive.

For the heart of this nation has grown coarse,

their ears are dull of hearing,

and they have shut their eyes,

for fear they should see with their eyes,

hear with their ears,

understand with their heart,

and be converted

and be healed by me.

‘But happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear! I tell you solemnly, many prophets and holy men longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.

‘You, therefore, are to hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path. The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once. The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing. And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’

Gospel Reflection:

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, we have necessarily distanced ourselves from others. Some of us have retreated to the natural world so that our sensitivities have sharpened and our planetary awareness has heightened. We have become more attuned to the complexity of nature and to its rhythms. We have observed the diverse feeding habits of the birds, for instance, and their communication patterns.  There is new and renewed interest in gardening, in the growing of vegetables and fruit in pots or in built-up garden beds. Such changes in lifestyle are conditioning us to use our eyes to see and our ears to listen, as today’s gospel invites us to do. Jesus’ directive, “let anyone with ears listen”, is a reminder that we do have ears and that we do not always hear. Ann Lewin’s words come to mind: “You do not have to Look for anything. Just look. You do not have to Listen for specific Sounds. Just Listen. You do not have to Accomplish anything. Just Be. And in the Looking and the Listening and the Being, find Me.”

To what sort of being, of looking and listening does today’s gospel call us? The parable of the soil, of the seed, of the birds and the thorns, of the sun and the sower alerts us to Jesus’ deep sense of connection with life in its multiple forms. It calls us to examine our connection with the natural world. For a long time, we have focussed on the human character in the parable, a character who evokes an agricultural world that is far removed from our post-industrial world, but not so far removed from the world of millions of people in our planetary home who live close to the soil and to earth’s elements and who struggle to produce the food they need to stay alive. Is the Matthean Jesus presenting in the sower an image of an estate owner, or a tenant farmer or even a slave? Or is the reader being asked to imagine the sower, whether estate owner, tenant farmer or slave, as an image of an extraordinarily generous God whose life-sustaining gifts are there for all, no matter their readiness to receive? It may not be one or the other but both

What of the silty clay loam or red sandy soil, of the wheat or barley seed, of the birds and the thorns and the sun? We know that barley was domesticated some ten thousand years ago in what became bible lands and that these lands are also the original home of the finest bread-making wheat. The birds and the thorns and the sun are for another reflection. We bring our experience of looking and listening and being into dialogue with the parable and search out its meaning for us. We trust that God will ensure an abundant harvest if we but learn to look and to listen to the needs of a planet in peril.

Sr Veronica Lawson rsm

© The scriptural quotations are taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Co Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. The English translation of the Psalm Responses, the Alleluia and Gospel Verses, and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, and the Titles, Summaries, and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass © 1997, 1981, 1968, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

Rom 8:18-23

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