Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 55:10-11
Matthew 13:1-23

I spent yesterday at our Diocesan Assembly for my diocese of Northampton. Over three hundred and fifty people gathered as Pilgrims of Hope. We shared our love for the Church and our hopes and dreams for the future. We faced the difficult topics with courage and a willingness to really listen to the Spirit.

The whole day was framed around speaking and listening. There were times of collective silence where we were encouraged to let the words we had just heard ‘sink in’. Reading today’s Gospel I hear a parallel with good soil providing the conditions for roots to grow down and the practice of silence providing the conditions for words to sink in.

In the monastic tradition there is a rhythm of word and silence. We gather fives times a day to pray services that are almost entirely composed of Scripture. It is this which provides the soil of our hearts. Periods of the day are spent in silence. Day after day, year after year, we are creating the conditions for God’s word to take root in us.

Today’s parable of the Sower and the Seed speaks to the various times in my life when the ground has been very rocky and almost nothing seemed to take root. These times have sometimes been followed by some surprising growth. Often I haven’t even realised that something has shifted. A tiny shoot has grown bigger and stronger. It is Scripture that has enabled this growth.

And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.

How can you make space this week for God’s Word to take root in you?