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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday 16th 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): Jesus left the house and sat down by the lakeside. As many people gathered around him, He got in a boat. There He sat while the whole crowd stood on the shore, and he spoke to them in parables about many things. Jesus said, «The sower went out to sow and, as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground where there was little soil, and the seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was not deep. But as soon the sun rose the plants were scorched and withered because they had no roots. Again other seeds fell among thistles; and the thistles grew and choked the plants. Still other seeds fell on good soil and produced a crop; some produced a hundredfold, others sixty and others thirty. If you have ears, then hear!».

«The sower went out to sow and, as he sowed»

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

Today, Jesus —in Matthew's Gospel— 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 may have life, and have it to the full» (Jn 10:10). This is why He does not spare his seeds and generously throws handfuls of them onto the ground, whether it is «along the path» (Mt 13:4), or «on rocky ground» (key verse 5), or «among thistles» (key verse 7), or, finally, «on good soil» (key verse 8).

Thus, the seeds so generously sown produce the expected yield the “toponymic” 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 it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the Kingdom. Then, by its own power the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest» (Lumen gentium, n. 5).

«Those who hear it with faith», says the Council. You are used to hear it, perhaps to read it and, maybe, to ponder over. 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 «If you have ears, then hear!» (Mt 13:9).

Today, ask the Lord the prophet’s yearning: «When I found your words, I devoured them; they became my joy and the happiness of my heart, Because I bore your name, O Lord, God of hosts» (Jer 15,16).