Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we can ask ourselves: how do I receive the Word of God? Jesus gives us a parable and an explanation in today’s Gospel, which comes from Saint Matthew. There are people who don’t understand the word of the kingdom and the evil comes and steals away what was sown in the heart. The second group are those who hear the word and receive it immediately with joy but when difficulties come, these people immediately fall away. Then there are people who hear the word but then anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. The last person mentioned: a person who hears the word and understands it and who bears fruit.

Jesus is not telling us a parable to condemn us but to invite us to change our ways of living so that we can be more consistently in that last group: hearing and responding to the word and bearing fruit in our lives.

We heard in the first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, that God’s word will accomplish the end for which it was sent. This word of God will continue to work on us for our whole life, seeking to draw us to the Lord. What lacks is our cooperation. We must do our part to cooperate with the word: begin the spiritual combat which means to fight all within us that is against the word. Our Christian life is a life of combat against ourselves and against all the cultural values which are not in accord with the word of God.

The second reading today is from the Letter to the Romans and tells us that actually all of creation is groaning with the desire to be transformed into the new creation. We ourselves have the first fruits of the Spirit within us, yet often we do not respond. So we also groan with all creation, hoping and praying for the complete adoption as children God and the redemption of our bodies.
This second reading is clear: we are redeemed body and soul. So often today we find those who think that only our soul might be saved. No! Our Creed and our longstanding believe is that we are saved body and soul. Again we have the challenge of spiritual combat both with our “soul” as well as with our “body.” Not all that we want or desire is in accord with the will of the Lord.

We have to struggle, as does all creation, in order to let God conform us to His will.

Father Jesus