Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
Isaiah, in his exhortation today, expresses points of comparison between the rain and snow and the Word of God:
1. Rain and snow return to the heavens only when they have watered the earth and made it fertile and fruitful. For many, especially farmers and those who need water, rain is a gift; for others, it is an inconvenience, and sometimes can harm and destroy.
The Word of God does not return to Him void. God expects response from us, in our duties and relationships. We are not here in this world to create a name for ourselves, to leave a legacy to others or to build a monument that will perpetuate a memory. We live only to be faithful to our creator and redeemer. We offer ourselves and our endeavors to God with confidence that He will do what He wills through us.
2. Rain and snow give seed to the one who sows. The more a farmer sows, the more he will harvest and the more seeds he will gather. As rain is a blessing, the seed that is meant to grow and be harvested for one is also a blessing for the community. Gratitude for blessings makes people unselfish. Misery or extreme need comes to a person when he looks with jealously at other people’s gifts and overlooks his blessings.
The Word of God is the Father’s will. In Jesus the Word is alive. He came down from heaven to redeem us from our sinfulness and to lead us back to the Father. In this way, no one would be lost, because His will is that all may be saved and be one.
3. Rain and snow give bread to the one who eats. Blessings do not only depend on the capacity of a person alone, but especially on the goodness of the Lord. Blessings do not depend on the likes and caprices of a person. The happy person is not one who has everything he wants, but he who makes use of the things that he receives as fruit of his labor for he participates in God’s work of creation for the good of all.
The Word of God achieves the end for which it is sent. No Word of God is ever wasted. Because He wants all to be saved, He gives them graces for every endeavor. Only those who choose to be lost will be lost; the faithful will endure forever.
Let us consider the qualities of a farmer, and also of a fisherman, as many of you here may be fishermen.
1. Patience. The fisherman is patient waiting for a catch; the farmer is patient waiting for the fruits of his labor. Both know that it’s not only their knowledge or skill that reward them for their labor, but most especially the care and goodness of God, who makes the plants grow and makes the sea flourish with fish. An impatient and noisy farmer or fisherman drives away all opportunities open to him.
2. Peace and quiet. Both are usually quiet at work, and leave nature to carry out its course and allow God to take care of the land and the sea. A noisy fisherman or farmer only disturbs the peace of nature, thus is not able to profit from his work.
3. Tolerance. They are able to put up with difficult situations, to endure hardships and allow unexpected conditions like, weather and human error. An intolerant fisherman or farmer allows himself to be mastered by the surrounding conditions, tiredness and time, instead of mastering these for the improvement of his skill and for the betterment of life, family and community.
Jesus, as well as Peter, manifest the flowing qualities:
1. Despite their patience, they were also aggressive in preaching the Word of God and in teaching about good human qualities;
2. Despite their quiet, they also talked a lot about the Word of God and good relationships with people, and prayed a lot so that they would always be one with the Father;
3. Despite their tolerance, they were also firm in their belief that what they were teaching was the way to holiness and happiness, the way to the Father.
Let these qualities grow in our hearts that we may sow love in our families and communities, and harvest God’s blessings that lead to everlasting life. Let the Eucharist be the blessing that keeps us always one with God and with His people.