Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: July 23, Lectionary 399. Jeremiah 3:14-17. Jeremiah
31:10.11-12.13. Matthew 13:18-23:
Matthew's parables of the kingdom are gathered together by the evangelist
in his presentation of the third discourse of Jesus; there are five in
this Gospel and they have distinct endings that help lead us into the next
discourse. Remember that Matthew likes the number five and has it several
times in his presentation of the proclamation about Jesus. We now open our
minds and hearts to the kingdom parable which are helpful in our search for
what it means and is likened to and how it all fits into the plan of God
Matthew borrows from Mark for the parable of the sower. We are entering
into a presentation of the same parable we had yesterday, but here it is a
line by line application of the different kinds of fields in which the seed
is sown and how only the last scattering of the seed on the hillsides of
Galilee bear fruit. Matthew allegorizes the parable and applies it to
people who do not listen to the Word of God except for the last group who
are likened to the seed sown in fertile and good soil.
We are likened to these different soils throughout our life, but finally
when we listen and do the words of Jesus we become those who produce
abundantly in the field of spiritual growth and mission success. The
parable ends with this very positve interpretation. Our own ommissions and
commissions of sin can be similar to the seed that withers, burns away, and
just is wasted. Through our return to the Lord, we become likened to the
good seed on good soil.
Kirster Stendahl was one of the great interpreters of St. Matthew. He
tells us about this parable: "The use of parables is not taken as a
pedagogical device in a modern sense, but is according to the plan of God."
We can gain much insight for our meditation on this passage by rereading
verses 16 and 17 and verse 35. This lectio divina (spiritual reading and
meditation on the text) will help us to be the good soil for the Word of
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