"Breaking Open the Word" :
James Cavanagh is the director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-Area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. His weekly column, "Breaking Open the Word," is syndicated by the Denver Catholic Register, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver. Click here to visit the Office of Evangelization & Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Denver.
July 10: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The first reading was selected to parallel this week’s Gospel. Isaiah uses images from nature to illustrate how God’s word affects those who hear it: Like rain that falls softly on the ground, the word of God falls on the ears of the faithful, inspiring them to do his will. Isaiah wrote these words when the people of God were in exile, far away from the Temple and their beloved homeland. As strangers in a strange land, their only connection with God was through Scripture, which gave them great consolation.
In the second reading Paul explains how the earth itself groans under the weight of sin. Adam’s disobedience had consequences not only for the human race, but for the whole creation. When Adam fell he dragged creation down with him. Its restoration began with the New Adam: Jesus Christ. The new creation starts with Christ who works through us “who have the first fruits of the Spirit.” Like the prophet Isaiah, Jesus also taught from the “book of nature.”
Using imagery based from everyday life familiar to his disciples, Jesus explains in this week’s Gospel how people relate to God’s word. The parable of the sower illustrates how different kinds of people receive the word of the Lord. Some are impervious to God’s word. Others are preoccupied by worldly concerns, while still others are deceived by “the evil one.” But there are some who are open to God’s word and gladly listen to it. Such openness leads to a response of faith, which results in an abundant harvest of good deeds.
Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Pope Benedict XVI:
James Cavanagh is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. Cavanagh’s column is distributed by the Denver Catholic Register.
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