15th cycle A

The first reading may well have been written after the poem in Genesis at the beginning of the Bible. In that poem it is the word of God that brings things about, it reads: “God said, let there be light and there was light;” and so with all the things the poem mentions, they are created by God saying “let there be…”. But in our first reading today the word of God is treated more as a reality like the rain or snow that comes from God, it is the word of God that comes down to bring about in our world what God wants done; the word of God has the power of creating. This part of the Book of Isaiah communicates hope, for God always achieves what He plans – we have reason to rejoice, and we believe now that “the Word became human” (John 1:14).

The second reading reminds us that creation is an ongoing process the end of which will be ‘glorious.’ The world we experience is not complete yet, indeed we are part of this unfinished process of creation, and it is we who sometimes hinder its progress through our failings, selfishness and sin, when we do not live up to our calling as children of God. However God’s powerful Spirit plays a part in creation, as we can read in the opening poem of the Bible, where it says: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2). The urge towards the glorious fulfilment of this process of creation is described as the groaning of the spirit; the Spirit is within us, anxious to express the life of God in the way we live, we just have to let it work its power in us and we shall become the person God wants us to be. People who live in a beautiful land of hills and mountains might appreciate these readings more, especially the the verse which follows the first reading from Isaiah (55:12):-

You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.

 

The scene in the gospel is very understandable: Jesus, who spoke words that seemed so encouraging to many ordinary people, attracted a following and a crowd who wanted to hear him; in a boat just off the shore or sometimes up a prominence, it was a more convenient for him to be seen and heard by all who wished to hear him. His manner of speaking was natural for one brought up in a small village in the countryside, and was readily understood, at least at its surface meaning; but the deeper meaning of his parables and illustrations might only be appreciated by those who were wanting, or willing to try to live with a deeper and more challenging commitment to the ways of God. His teachings and parables would have been re-used by his disciples and followers in the early days; they would have been developed and adapted to the new situation after the resurrection and when the church spread and struggled in the secular world. So the different types of seed in the reading might refer to the different kinds of Christians addressed. Even today some who join the church respond differently, some very enthusiastic at first but then tailing off, others unable to maintain their commitment because of their immersion in a society of different standards, but there will be some who “produce fruit” to various degrees.

see Jeffs Jottings – The Idea of God

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