Homily for July 13

Homily for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 55:10-11
Romans 8:18-23
Matthew 13:1-23

It’s amazing how powerful words are in our lives.

Our lives can be radically changed, in an instant, by the words we hear.

Think of what can happen when we hear words like these:

“I love you.”
“The news isn’t good.”
“I forgive you.”
“Just go away.”
“I’m pregnant.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Are you ok?”
“You got the job.”
“It’s cancer.”
“I have good news.”
“I can’t.”
“I won’t.”
“Can we talk?”
“I need you.”
“Will you marry me?”
“I’ll help you.”

None of those phrases was more than four words in length
but each can mean a lifetime of difference.

The only thing more powerful than the words we hear is silence,
especially the silence in which we wait and hunger
for a word to be spoken.

Jesus knew how important and powerful
are words in our lives.
And that’s why he wants so much for us to hear the words he speaks.

This parable of the sower and the seed
is all about hearing and rooting one’s life in the power of God’s word.

2,000 years away from the simple seashore setting of Jesus’ preaching,
we might ask if we still believe
that God has something worthwhile to say to us.

So much in our culture teaches us to honor autonomy above all
to disallow another’s word authority over our lives,
counseling us to make choices by the measure of our own desires.

Is that the way we will choose to live?
Or will listen for God’s word – and take it to heart?

The questions raised by Jesus’ preaching in today’s gospel
might be these:
Do I believe God speaks to me? to his people?
Do I want to hear what God has to say?
Will I make time to hear what God says
and make the effort to understand what I hear?
Will I open myself to God’s word as the Church proclaims it?
Will I invite God’s word to take root in my heart?
Will I nurture its truth in my mind?
Will I let it shade my choices and decisions?
Will I weed and prune the garden of my life
lest the word of God’s truth be choked by my desires and distractions?
Do I desire a living harvest of God’s word in my life?

I began with a number of powerful words that might change our lives,
words we speak to each other.
Every word God speaks to us is even more powerful
and among them are these:
“I created you.”
“I call you by name.”
“I have a word for you.”
“I love you.”
“You are mine.”
“I forgive you.”
“Be not afraid.”
“Follow me.”
“Live by my word.”
“Love your neighbor.”
“Forgive one another.”
“Do what is good.”
“Love what is just.”
“Not yet.”
“I am with you.”

And now we go to the table of the Lord who is with us
and who speaks to us.

Here we will remember the powerful words Jesus spoke
on the night before he died.
These words have the power, to this very day,
to change our simple gifts of bread and wine
and make of them his body and blood.

Let us welcome the Word become food for our souls
spoken so powerfully in the sacrifice and sacrament of this altar.



  1. someone from somewhereJuly 13, 2008 at 2:41 PM

    powerful words... powerful homily.
    I was thinking about the powerful words in my life spoken to me and by me:
    been there for me
    worry about you
    I'm scared
    tell me what's happening
    hope you feel better
    anything I can do?
    I trust you
    thank you
    good night
    I miss you

  2. How about the way the world changed with

    "non serviam"

  3. Thank you for a thought-provoking homily, an appropriate meditation that became part of my night prayer.
    This brought to mind a Good Friday liturgy some years ago when our priest very reverently and deliberately spoke the Last Words of Christ, each followed by a time of silence with the Words seeming to be suspended in the air. It was moving and powerful, impossible not to hear with your heart.

  4. I mistakenly deleted rather than published an anonymous comment - mea culpa!

    If the person whose comment does not appear here would resubmit it, I will publish it.

  5. Thank you for the homily- I was at another parish yesterday for mass. This and the mustard seed has always been a favorite reading of mine since a child- it always touched me. Unfortunately yesterday I was not moved by the priests homily (as in an earlier post it was a bit to long and did not seem to have a concise point that I was able to follow). After mass I spoke to my husband about it and told him what I might have said and some of what you wrote was similar, but definitely not as moving and eloquent.

    Thank you.


  6. FOR AN ANONYMOUS READER who left a very personal comment... Please know that I read your comment seriously and I'm praying for you. I'm especially praying that you find someone to talk to about your dreams and your relationship with God.

    I'm inviting other readers here to pray for this anonymous commentor whose words I believe were too personal to publish.

    Anonymous, I know you can be confident that many folks will be praying for you, especially that you seek out some counseling help.

  7. I will certainly pray for "Anonymous" for whom you asked us to pray. Without doubt, many others will also. I hope knowing this will be a source of strength and help to "Anonymous."

  8. I too, will pray for you anonymous. Life can sometimes be very overwhelming. I pray you find strength to seek help and find faith in God that he will also help you.


Please THINK before you write
and PRAY before you think!