ALL CREATION IS GROWNING 15th Sunday (A) 2020
Our Scripture readings this morning have a way of grounding us like few others. Jesus is inviting us to become rich soil that produces fruit, a hundred or sixty of thirtyfold. One may say that our whole gospel text is asking each and all of us what kind of ground we want to be. Everything depends on how receptive we are, if God’s living word is going to take root and bear fruit.
We have just celebrated the Solemnity of St Benedict. His Rule is all about preparing the ground of our hearts to receive God’s word that each of us and our community may be abundantly fruitful. When Benedict opens his Rule with “Obsculta,” “Listen,” he immediately adds “incline the ear of your heart.” It is never enough to hear with our ears if we do not incline our hearts, our whole being to whatever God may be saying in our lives. What a beautiful call it is to commune with the living God in the depths of our being.
To incline the ear of our hearts to God’s word is to receive it with understanding. To stay with it, whenever tribulation or persecution arise because of it, to remain free of worldly anxiety and riches that will choke it all too easily, allows our lives to become not only fruitful and deeply satisfying. We are to be “Hearers of the Word” in our innermost selves as Karl Raher loved to call Christians. What a gift it is to be exposed to the Word of God all day long in our way of life.
Becoming fertile for God’s Word involves the whole of our lives as St Paul reminds us in our second reading, telling us 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.” All of creation “awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God. Especially as we get older we look forward to the resurrection of our bodies but as St Paul beautifully reminds us, this is true of all creation.
More than ever we have become aware that if creation is going to “be set free from the slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God,” then we must be willing to be honest about what creation is telling us in our own time. More than ever in human history, we are seeing how creation has become “subject to futility.”
Climate change has become a global emergency. In the last four years we have seen record breaking storms, devastating fires and historic floods. Besides what is happening because of the pandemic, urban and rural communities alike have suffered huge economic losses because of these natural disasters. Even as I speak, many homes and businesses along the east coast are suffering heavy damage from the tropical storm Fay, the earliest such storm on record for this season. In our day millions of Americans are being denied access to clean, safe drinking water and even the most basic wastewater infrastructure.
More than ever it has become crucial for life on our planet that we become true Hearers of the Word, let it lead us along the paths of truth and love. The Eucharist is a daily reminder of what Christ desires to take place in our world as the very substance of bread and wine are transformed into his very own Body and Blood now gloried at the right hand of the Father. Here at this altar the word of the living God bears the perfect fruit for which it has been destined.
(Is. 55:10-11; Rom. 8:18-23; Mt. 13: 1-23)