15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 16, 2017)

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that if we understand His word with our heart, it will bear abundant fruit. St. Francis de Sales expands on this thought:

God’s word is so powerful and efficacious that it gives life to those in need. What a good sign it is for a Christian to take pleasure in listening to God’s word, and to belong totally to God! Those who come to abandon all to God without any reserve are like the sunflower that is not content with turning its flowers, leaves and stem toward the sun, but by some hidden wonder, it also turns its underground root. To love God completely means we love God who commands, and we love the thing commanded.

Jesus, who died for love of us, wants us to listen to His word so as to make it our own. After we have listened attentively to the Word of God, let us open our hearts and be receptive to understanding what we hear. Understanding well God’s word helps us to keep it. Our actions ought to be congruent with our words. That is, the carrying out of our good resolutions ought to immediately follow our words. Let us implore the Divine mercy to strengthen us to make effective what our heart desires and approves.

Our Lord makes it very clear that His word is effective in us when we embrace His will for us. This does not mean that we feel “good” or “holy” in doing God’s will. What matters is that we hold in reverence God’s word and keep to the intention of profiting from it. Divine Goodness is satisfied with this. God is content with little, and focuses on the intentions in our heart, not our feelings. However, those, who listen to the word of God with a particular attention and desire for it, speak of the victories over themselves and their weaknesses. Our entire good consists in accepting the truth of Our Savior’s word. Let us persevere in living that truth so we may have life in abundance.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales)