15th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Sunday, July 16, 2017

Father Jim Donohue's picture

Father Jim Donohue

July 16, 2017

           The Charism Statement of the Congregation of the Resurrection proclaims: “We believe that God’s love for us is merciful and unfailing.” This echoes the Constitutions of the Resurrectionists, which begins with the sentence: “God loves each of us with a personal, unconditional love” (art. 1).

            Our readings this weekend are a testimony of the unfailing love of God. In particular, our first readings insists that God’s Word will not return without carrying out its purpose in bearing fruit. The second reading understands that this life can include struggles akin to giving birth, but they are directed to a good end which we await in hope.

            Our gospel is a parable about how God ultimately will bring about God’s plan even in the midst of trials and struggles. This parable addresses the challenges or difficulties; it is not a story of immediate success…three quarters of the parable are about failure! But, this is not about a set of statistics (i.e., one out of every four!). Rather, it is about gradual success: first, birds eat part of the scattered seed (no beginning); second, part of the scattered seed sprouts and grows, but it dries up (a little beginning); third, part of the scattered seed grows, but is choked (a bit more growth); fourth, part of the scattered seed produces great harvest. Only at the moment when the negative history has reached its climax does something new and conclusive emerge! The parable describes the coming of the reign of God even with all the difficulties that we face. Yet, despite these difficulties, the parable depicts the unstoppable growth of the reign of God. While it seems to have a frightening smallness and hiddenness in its beginning, God is able to overcome the power of the opponents who threaten the work of God from beginning to end.