JULY 26, 2002 ,  HOMILY: MATTHEW 13: 18- 23 

THE MAN WHO SOWS ON GOOD GROUND IS THE ONE WHO HEARS THE WORD AND UNDERSTANDS AND BRINGS FORTH FRUIT. Surely one of our Lord’s best known talks is the parable of the seed planted in the heart by a preacher sent forth in obedience to Christ to bring forth fruit for the kingdom of God. We have become so familiar with this story that it requires an effort on our part to imagine how anyone could fail to understand the application of this image of the seed to preaching and the effect of the word on our behavior. Do we appreciate adequately what it means to have the word of God growing up within us and bringing forth fruit that abides eternally? 

Jesus compares the heart to a fertile field where words that are planted can take root and produce something new. We ourselves are that new fruit that is destined for the kingdom of God. And we become some new and eternal creation through the word sowed within us through the disciples Jesus has sent out to labor on our behalf. The seed they have sowed is watched over by God who gives it increase if we but cherish it. The life we enjoy even now is of such a nature that we can employ our energies and efforts in laboring under God’s caring Providence so as to become his own.  

The word of God brings forth fruit by those who not only hear it but , Jesus tells us here, by those who understand it. To understand the word addressed to us requires our attention, our efforts to grasp its fuller sense. Only then can we carry out what it enjoins upon us. Sometimes, we must struggle with the word God addresses to us for many days, even months or longer, before we arrive at that measure of understanding needed for the word to bear fruit. Meantime, it is doing its hidden work in our hear. Though it be hidden from the eyes of others, even from our own eyes, yet it remain alive and develops the roots in our soul that will one day bring forth fruit in the form of new habits of virtue and those dispositions of courage and love that mark the children of God. 

With confidence may we persevere in taking God’s word to heart, occupy ourselves with its meaning for us and do all we can to put them into practice. May the graces we receive here at the Eucharist bring his word to fruit for ourselves and for those we deal with. Then, at the time of harvest we shall find  welcome into the kingdom, being recognized by the Father as his children, formed by the Word he sent to fashion us after his own likeness.  

  Abbot John Eudes Bamberger

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