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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (Exod 16:1-5.9-15): The children of Israel set out from Elim, and came into the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt. Here in the desert the whole assembly of the children of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The children of Israel said to them, «Would that we had died at the Lord's hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread! But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!».

Then the Lord said to Moses, «I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not. On the sixth day, however, when they prepare what they bring in, let it be twice as much as they gather on the other days». Then Moses said to Aaron, «Tell the whole congregation of the children of Israel: Present yourselves before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling». When Aaron announced this to the whole assembly of the children of Israel, they turned toward the desert, and lo, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud!

The Lord spoke to Moses and said,«I have heard the grumbling of the children of Israel. Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the Lord, am your God». In the evening quail came up and covered the camp. In the morning a dew lay all about the camp, and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground. On seeing it, the children of Israel asked one another, «What is this?» for they did not know what it was. But Moses told them, «This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat».
Responsorial Psalm: 77
R/. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
They tempted God in their hearts by demanding the food they craved. Yes, they spoke against God, saying, «Can God spread a table in the desert?».

Yet he commanded the skies above and the doors of heaven he opened; He rained manna upon them for food and gave them heavenly bread.

Man ate the bread of angels, food he sent them in abundance. He stirred up the east wind in the heavens, and by his power brought on the south wind.

And he rained meat upon them like dust, and, like the sand of the sea, winged fowl, which fell in the midst of their camp round about their tents.
Versicle before the Gospel (---): Alleluia. The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to him will live for ever. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 13:1-9): On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

“A sower went out to sow”

Fr. Julio César RAMOS González SDB (Mendoza, Argentina)

Today —in Matthew's Gospel— Jesus starts introducing us into the mysteries of the Kingdom, in that particular way that He likes to use by means of parables.

The seeds are the Word proclaimed and the sower is He. He is not trying to sow in the best possible soil to produce an excellent crop. He has come so that “they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). This is why He does not spare his seeds and generously throws handfuls of them onto the ground, whether it is “on the path” (Mt 13:4), or “on rocky ground” (key verse 5), or “among thorns” (key verse 7), or, finally, “on rich soil” (key verse 8).

Thus, the seeds so generously sown produce the expected yield the terrain possibilities allow. The Second Vatican Council tells us: “The Word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear the Word with faith and become part of the little flock of Christ, have received the Kingdom itself. Then, by its own power the seed sprouts and grows until harvest” (Lumen gentium, 5).

“Those who hear the Word with faith”, says the Council. You are used to hearing it, perhaps to reading it and, maybe, to pondering over it. Depending on the depth of your faith through hearing, such will be the fruits the crop will bear. Though, these fruits, somehow, are guaranteed by the vital power of the Word-seed, our responsibility in the attentive listening to the Word is no less important. This is why “Whoever has ears ought to hear” (Mt 13:9).

Today, ask the Lord the prophet’s yearning: “When I found your words, I devoured them; your words were my joy, the happiness of my heart, Because I bear your name, LORD, God of hosts” (Jer 15:16).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “The divine sower is also sowing his seed today. He invites us to spread the divine message, by both teaching and example.” (Saint Josemaría)

  • “The Lord scatters the seed of the word of God freely and with abundance. The sower does not lose heart, for he knows that part of this seed is destined to find ‘good soil’, namely, ardent hearts capable of receiving the word with willingness, for the benefit of many.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word? What use has he made of the talents he has received? Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 546)