Sunday Scriptures

Let the Seed Take Root in Our Lives

by Father John P. Cush

AS I WRITE this, I am congested. I must have sneezed 57 times in a row today, so afflicted am I with allergies. The great outdoors is no place for me. All I seem to do when faced with the beauty of nature is tear up: not overcome with the beauty, joy and transcendence of nature, but with a head filled with pollen! I am most definitely a city boy! I would never make it as a farmer, out tilling the soil. Where would I keep my BlackBerry? How would I plug in my Mac? Could I still DVR what’s on SyFy (or better yet, what’s on NET) out on my tractor?
I may never be a farmer, but even I can figure out that the image that seems to permeate this Sunday’s Scriptures is that of a seed. Looking at the Gospel for last Sunday, and looking in anticipation of the next several Gospels over the next few Sundays, I can see the Church is trying to get us to reflect on the place that the good seed, that is the Sacred Scripture, has in our lives.
Jesus, in this rich parable taken from the Evangelist Matthew, presents to us a beautiful image, one that, no doubt, would have been familiar to the agrarian culture of the Israel of the Lord’s day. The seed, as we hear, is God’s Word.
God’s Word is, most especially, most intimately, is His Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, our Lord. It is Jesus who is Himself God’s Word made flesh, for us and for our salvation. Jesus is the Word who was in the beginning, before all else, and through Him, all things came into being, as the prologue from John’s Gospel reminds us. He is the creating, saving and redeeming Word.
This eternal Word comes into the world and by His words and actions, He expresses the central message that He is in Himself and that He came to bring: the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God, not a place, not a concept, is, at its essence, Jesus Himself. It is already powerfully present in the world, breaking through the walls of sadness, sin and division. Yet, it is not complete. It is only going to be complete when, in Christ’s time, the appointed time is completed, the Lord Jesus will come again in glory and His kingdom will have no end.
The Eternal Word of God expressed Himself primarily in two main ways: through the Sacred Tradition of His Body on Earth, the Church and through His inspired Word in the Sacred Scriptures. These fonts of Divine Revelation help make the teachings of the Lord available to us today and throughout all times.
This divine revelation, always the initiative of the Lord, is given to us in so many ways. We hear scripture proclaimed at the celebration of Mass and at other liturgical services. We may pray with the Bible as often as we would like. We have the opportunity to learn more about the Sacred Scriptures in Bible studies and adult education programs.
The Sacred Tradition of the Church, also part of divinely revealed revelation, is expressed in the lived experience of the community that we call Church. It is the same Church that was founded on the rock that is Peter. That seed is bathed in the blood of martyrs and nourished by the light of the prayers of the holy women and men who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.
These two fonts of Divine Revelation — Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, are interpreted for us through the gift that is the Magisterium of the Church, that teaching power of the popes and the bishops. This Magisterium, the official teaching of the Church, seeks to clarify and bring to the light of understanding the truth that is Christ and His Church.
With all this being said, do we let the seed of the Word sink into our minds, our hearts, our souls each time it is prayed, studied and proclaimed? How can we become more of the good soil that is spread continually, through the actions of grace in our lives? How can we let God’s Word take root in our lives?

Readings for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
Isaiah 55: 10-11
Romans 8:18-23
Matthew 13:1-23

Father John Cush teaches English and theology at Cathedral Prep Seminary, Elmhurst, where he also serves as spiritual director and director of development and alumni affairs.