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

What a beautiful image St. Paul paints for us today: all creation is groaning as it eagerly awaits the fullness of redemption when everyone and everything will be freed from its slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.

The presence of the Spirit within us gives us hope as we join our groaning to the groaning of all creation.

Isaiah reminded us: just as the rain and snow effectively water the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, so too will the word of God do his will, achieving the end for which He sent it.

Jesus also compares God’s word to seed sown by the Divine Sower. The seed always bears some kind of fruit, serving some purpose, but in good soil it bears fruit abundantly.

The seed sown is much like the rain that falls - the extent of its ability to make fertile and fruitful depends on the ground that receives it. Even the short-lived wild flowers that bloom after a desert storm serve a purpose.

Jesus wants more for us.

He adds a warning to the parable: “Let everyone heeds what he hears.” That means that we must spend some time in prayer with his words in order for them to be most fruitful in our life. They are able to touch that place of groaning, of eager waiting, in each of us. They speak to that hope we all have as a gift of the Spirit in us.

May each of us be “good soil” today - soil which accepts the seed and the rain that God is sending us in His word. In our prayerful listening, may we have the courage to remove stumbling-stones and thorns that may be present in the soil of our heart. May we allow that seed to be watered well and become an abundant yield as we await with a sure hope the redemption of our bodies.