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Liturgical day: Friday 16th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Exod 20:1-17): In those days: God delivered all these commandments: «I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers' wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain. For the Lord will not leave unpunished him who takes his name in vain.

»Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you. You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him».
Responsorial Psalm: 18
R/. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye.

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true, all of them just.

They are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold; sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Cf. Lk 8,15): Alleluia. Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 13,18-23): Jesus said to his disciples, «Now listen to the parable of the sower. When a person hears the message of the Kingdom but without taking it to himself, the devil comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed that fell along the footpath. The seed that fell on rocky ground stands for the one who hears the word and accepts it at once with joy. But this fickle and has no roots. No sooner is he harassed or persecuted because of the word, than he gives up. The seed that fell among the thistles is the one who hears the word, but then the worries of this life and the love of money choke the word, and it does not bear fruit. As for the seed that fell on good soil it is the one who hears the word and under-stands it; this bears fruit and produces a hundred, or sixty, or thirty times more».

«Now listen to the parable of the sower»

Fr. Josep LAPLANA OSB Monk of Montserrat
(Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we contemplate God as a good and magnanimous farmer, who has so richly sown his field. He has not spared anything for the redemption of man; He has vested everything in his own Son Jesus Christ who, as the seed sown in the good soil (death and burial), with his saint Resurrection has become our own life and resurrection.

God is a farmer who knows how to wait. Time belongs to the Father, for He is the only one to know about the day or the hour (cf. Mk 13:32) of the harvest and threshing. And God waits. And we must also wait while synchronizing the watch of our hopes with God's design of salvation. St. James says: «See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains» (Jas 5:7). God waits on the crop that grows thanks to his grace. And we must also stay on our toes; we must collaborate with God's grace by giving him our cooperation and opposing no obstacles to this transforming action of God.

God's crop, which here on earth, grows and bears fruit, is a feat visible through its effects; we can see them in actual miracles and in clamorous examples of saintliness of life. There are plenty of people that after having heard all the words and din of this world are hungry and thirsty for the authentic Word of God, wherever it is, alive and incarnated. There are thousands who live their belonging to Jesus Christ and to the Church with the same enthusiasm than in the first times of the Gospel, because the divine word «finds the soil where to germinate and bear fruit» (St. Augustine); we must therefore raise our morale and look at our future with the eyes of the faith.

The success of the crop does not depend upon our human strategies or upon our marketing techniques, but upon God's initiative of salvation “rich in mercy” and upon the efficiency of the Holy Spirit, that can transform our lives so we can bear the delicious fruits of charity and of contagious joy.