Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

15th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: THE POWER AND DYNAMISM OF GOD'S WORD

Mt 13: 1-23


ALBERT SCHWEITZER WAS once a famous musical conductor in the US. At a young age, he became a multi- millionaire. However, one day, he abandoned his lucrative career in music and in lieu, he studied medicine. When he became a doctor, he went to Africa and worked as a missionary doctor. He was once interviewed and he was asked what led him to give up the fame and riches he had had. His response was: ‘The Word of God!” Accordingly, he read on the biblical story of Lazarus and the Rich Man. In his reflections, he saw himself as the rich man in the story and the people in Africa are Lazaruses. He felt that he cannot live lavishly any more at the expense of those people living in poverty, especially in Africa.

Such is the Word of God. The Hebrew word for God’s word is “dabar” and it has such power and dynamism that those who really read or listen to it, are indeed moved by it. But the problem lies in the people who receive the Word of God. The four kinds of soil depicted in the parable are four attitudes of people to the Word of God.

In the gospel parable, Jesus exhorts his disciples, “Whoever has ears ought to hear”. Jesus expects that his Word shall produce fruits in our life. We must all be “rich soil” so that the Word of God can produce fruits. This is also the theme in the first reading today. In the prophecy of Isaiah, we hear God saying “my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it”.

However, most of the time, it does not happen. Joining the Holy Eucharistic celebration is an opportunity and for some, the only opportunity, to hear the Word of God. But often they miss the opportunity because they don’t pay attention to Word God. They don’t concentrate or focus to what happens during the eucharistic celebration.

If we don’t have the right attitudes to the Word of God, then we need to correct them. Our aim is to love the Word of God, to make it meaningful, and to allow it to move us. If we want to feel the power of the Word of God, we need to have some good attitudes. Let me propose three attitudes:

The first attitude is one of attraction. We, people, are usually attracted to something beautiful and to someone who is beautiful. The Word of God has an inherent beauty; the Word of God is indeed beautiful. It is different from the words of men. Yes, sometimes, we also listen to the wisdom of the people who we admire but nothing compares the Word of God. Therefore, we should be attracted to the Word of God. Each time the Word of God is being read, our ears should always be ready to listen to it. Listening to the Word of God is the same as watching something which is beautiful. In watching a beautiful thing or person, we fix our eyes on them. In the same way, in listening to the Word of God, we should have listening ears.

The second attitude is one of reflection. The power and dynamism of the Word of God can be felt when we spend time reflecting on it. It is great to read or listen to the reflections of the priests or preachers. But we should also learn how to reflect on it. Albert Schweitzer works for the poor in Africa because he was moved by the Word of God. But, remember, he was moved by it only because he reflected on it. Thus, listening to the Word of God during the holy Eucharistic celebrations cannot be enough. We nevertheless need to spend some moments of reflection on it.

The third attitude is one of devotion. In general, we, Filipinos, are devotional. We have devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Mother of Perpetual Help and the saints. But seldom do we hear from people that they have a devotion to the Word of God. Almost all of us have Bibles in our homes. But we wonder how often we open the pages of it and read. Again, if we want the Word of God to produce fruits in our life, we need to regularly read it.

If we develop these attitudes, we become a “good soil” wherein the Word of God can grow and produce a hundredfold. Amen.


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