I’m Ready, Will You Join Me?

Lost and Found

“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission. www.GregOlsen.com

Gospel – 7/12/20 – Isaiah 55:10-11, 2 Romans 8:18-23, Mathew 13:1-23


Reading 1 July 12, 2020 IS 55:10-11

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Reading 2 ROM 8:18-23

Brothers and sisters:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility,not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it,in hope that creation itself
would be set free from slavery to corruption
and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.

We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Gospel MT 13:1-23

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.”

The disciples approached him and said,
“Why do you speak to them in parables?”
He said to them in reply,
“Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted,
and I heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

“Hear then the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one
who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it,
and the evil one comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

Growing up on our farm in East Texas you learned a lot about growing crops. My dad was a frustrated farmer. Born too late to be able to provide all we needed by just farming, he was an Iron Worker to be able to have a home, clothe us and provide for entertainment. But our food came mainly from the crops he grew, the animals he raised and our chickens.

Today’s Gospel reminds me of those days.

But today is special because, essentially, we get two readings from the prophet Isaiah.

In the first he speaks of the snow and the rains coming down from Heaven. They don’t return to Heaven until they have watered the lands, “ . . . making them fertile and fruitful . . .”.

He then says his word is the same. They will not return to him void. What does that mean?

Basically, he’s saying he preaches to all who can hear. Some of them hear and receive the message. They come back as a bounty – fruitful.

Others hear but don’t like the message. They don’t want the responsibility the message places on them – living a good life and being Godly. They don’t return because they are “void” of what God is calling them to be.

Then we hear St Paul speaks to the Romans about our expectations. Jesus came into a corrupt world. Those in power have been corrupted by the material world.

But St Paul, referencing what Jesus has done, speaks of a great change coming. All of Creation is groaning with the pain of the changes wrought by Christ.

Our Gospel is such a basic analogy, so easy to understand. Jesus talks of four ways the message is heard.

First the rocky path. Then the rocky ground followed by the thorny ground. Then the fertile ground.

The Apostles ask why he’s using parables with the people. Jesus just tells them, more or less, that not everyone is blessed like hem. There have been many prophets and very righteous people who weren’t blessed to hear or see what the Apostles have.

The people don’t have the knowledge to understand so Jesus is helping them to grasp the message in terms they will understand.

They have impediments to understanding. So, Jesus quotes Isaiah and tells them, “You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted,
and I heal them.”

Jesus speaks mainly about those in power, scribes and Pharisees, who would not want to hear or see the truth in the message because they would have to relinquish their privileged lives.

Imagine trying to plant seed on a hard path, like our tiles. Those are the people who come to church because they are supposed to and hear the message but are unaffected. It would be like sitting in church and Mother Mary appears. She blesses the congregation and then she’s gone. Those who are hard path Christian would leave at the end unfazed by what they saw.

The rocky ground hear and take in the message. But, if someone should ridicule them, say they believe in myths and fairy tales, they stop believing. They, rocky ground Christian, are more worried about how they are perceived.

I know from experience how a plant can be overcome by weeds. Weeding was a necessary evil in farming. The weeds would smother the plant so it dies. Thorny ground Christians hear the message and accept it – until they get distracted by stresses put on them by Worldly desires.

It is easy to be drawn like moths to the fame.

But, the fertile ground is the one that hears the message and lives it. It is the worker in the mission fields. And the mission fields aren’t necessarily foreign. There is work to be done right here – even in the pews of the church.

“The harvest is plenty, the workers are few.” We need to be fruitful – not void.

I’m ready. Will you join me?

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