Reading 1 — Isaiah 55:10-11
Psalm — Psalm 65:10-15
Reading 2 — Romans 8:-18-23
Gospel — Matthew 13:1-23
“Whoever has ears ought to hear,“ says our Lord to the crowd. And today, we listen to Him telling us the same. For Jesus, to listen is not just any activity but an important means to be constantly united with the Father. To listen means to be united. Within this ambit, we reflect on our readings today.
To Listen is to be Nourished
In our first reading today, God through Isaiah likens His word to rain and snow falling from heaven, making earth fertile and fruitful. And Jesus in our gospel speaks of the sower, the seed and the soil, a familiar scene to many. The word of God is Jesus and he has accomplished all that the Father wishes Him to do. He saved us and is continuously saving us. But the salvation we received needs our participation; God needs our response. And to listen to the Word is the first stage of our response. Only in listening that we get to see who we are and the kind of response we ought to make. When we listen to the Word of God, we do not just passively listen. To listen is to participate in the life of God, and being with God means being constantly nourished. Thus, we find ourselves fertile and fruitful in faith, virtue and charity.
To Listen is to be Healed
In our second reading, St. Paul gives us a stark picture of our current situation: we are in pain; we are struggling. This poses a great challenge to listening. It is easy to listen when we are not troubled by anything. And nobody is not troubled, even the minutest of all things is bothered in any way. Facing the truth of our current situation, St. Paul urges us to look at it with a positive heart. Yes, we are suffering but it is not all there is. Our suffering here and now is a test to strengthen us—not to break us—so that like a victorious athlete, we would be “set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.” St. Paul redirects the ears of our faith to the promise of redemption, a promise that is true, sure and eternal. All we need to do is to listen to the Word of God like true disciples. And like the soil that needs to be tilled and cultivated, we allow suffering to cultivate us as seedbeds of faith. In this way, we allow ourselves to be healed by God and nourish us like watered garden—fertile and fruitful.
To Listen is to be Challenged
Our Responsorial Psalm today speaks of God visiting His people and nourishing them. Here lies another challenge: to be visited is to be stirred. Our usual monotony is shaken and the status quo is challenged. Remember how God challenged our ancestors (Abraham, Moses and Elijah etc). By challenging them, God made them fruitful. Today, Jesus challenges us to be fruitful even in the midst of suffering. He himself is our example. In a society where morals and values once believed and understood as society’s building block are questioned—facing the danger of being obsolete. Jesus’s words redirect our mind and heart by challenging all these false values. He wants us to go forward bringing with us the unchangeable, unalienable and irreplaceable values. Values that have built and will continue to build our identity and uniting our society eternally to the Father.
However, no matter how lofty the message is if men close their ears to what is true, eternal and divine, we will never be nourished and our journey will lead us nowhere but to our own demise.
So we ask God for the grace to open our hearts that we may listen to Him and be nourished by His words. We also ask for the intercession of our mother, Our Lady of Consolation. Like her, may we listen to the Word of God and ponder Him in our hearts.
“Whoever has ears ought to hear.”