Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 65:10-14; Romans 8:18-23; Matthew 13:1-23)
Allowing the Scriptures to Transform Us and Bear Fruit in Our Lives
My word … shall not return to me void. (Isaiah 55:11)
A farmer is very careful during planting season. He selects the best seeds, chooses the most fertile land, and plants each crop in just the right location. He does all of this in the expectation of a good harvest. Yet despite all his effort, he can’t make the seeds grow. It’s up to the seeds themselves.
By contrast, it’s our heavenly Father who makes the seed of faith in our hearts grow and bear fruit. And he does it by pouring his word on us like a gentle rain shower.
Today’s first reading tells how fruitful God’s word is: it never comes back to him empty! His words are promises filled with divine potential. Every day, our Father speaks words of life over us. He tells us about his hope-filled plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11). He tells us about his everlasting love for us (31:3). He tells us that he delights in us (Isaiah 62:4). And he tells us that we are blessed because we can see signs of his presence in the world (Matthew 13:13). If we can accept these words, they will unleash grace in our lives that will make us into fruitful, attractive witnesses to our faith.
Do you want to bear fruit for the Lord? Then take hold of God’s word and never let it go. Every day, spend time with the Scriptures. Let them speak to your heart. Let them form your mind. Let them guide your actions. If you haven’t done it already, read the articles in the front of this magazine. They’re all about finding God’s presence through his word, and they’ll help you discover the grace that God has planted in you like a seed.
Jesus is speaking his word to you all the time. Right now, at this very moment, he wants to tell you something. Take the time to listen.
“Father, open my eyes to see you. Open my ears to hear you. Open my heart to receive you. Come, Lord, and speak life to my soul!”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. The Word Among Us Mass Edition contains all the Mass readings and prayers, and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading, God tells us through the metaphor of rain how fruitful his word is: “my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” What do these words mean to you? How do they apply to your life?
- In the responsorial psalm, again we read of the “fruitful harvest” because God has “visited the land and watered it.” In what way is this related to the metaphor of rain in the first reading and the role of God’s word in preparing, “breaking” and “softening” our hearts? Can you give an example when God’s word softened your heart and lead to fruitful changes?
- In the letter to the Romans, St. Paul compares the “slavery” to sin with the “glorious freedom” of the children of God. Where in your life have you experienced “glorious freedom” and victory over sin?
- In the Gospel, we read once again of the seed and the harvest. Which of the soils described in the Parable of the Sower best describes the state of your heart? What steps can you take to make your heart a “rich soil” that “hears the word and understand it” and “bears fruit?”
- Jesus also speaks of those who look but do not see, and those who hear but do not listen. When receiving the Eucharist at Mass this week, how careful are you to prepare your heart and mind to really see and listen? What about just prior to hearing the Sunday Mass readings? What additional steps can you take to prepare your heart and mind, both before and during Mass?
- The meditation challenges us with these words: “Do you want to bear fruit for the Lord? Then take hold of God’s word and never let it go. Every day, spend time with the Scriptures. Let them speak to your heart. Let them form your mind. Let them guide your actions.” If you don’t already have a daily time of Scripture reading, are you willing to commit to reading and reflecting on the Scriptures each day. If not, why not? If you already have a daily time of Scripture reading, are there some steps you can take to improve it?
- Take some time now to pray for the grace to allow Scriptures, the Word of God, to transform you and “speak life” to your soul. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.