15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - 16/7/2023 - Gospel: Mt 13: 1-9
Change Of Heart

A sower sows the seed manually, indicating this individual farm is small in size. It is located near a public place, where people walk past daily. This parcel of land is the combination of good soil, rocky ground, and thorny parts. The fertile soil is useful, while the rocky ground and thorny parts are not just useless, but troublesome. They require hard work to convert them into good fertile lands. The fertile land produces uneven results in its harvest time. Some seed gives a hundredfold, other sixty, and again other only thirty. There is no explanation for the end results being uneven. The fertile land needs work too. It needs to be taken good care of, for better results at the next harvest time.

Farmers know the land, but whether it is good or not so good, all land needs to be cared for. Otherwise, good, fertile quality soil can become a poor, futile one.

Thorny weed grows strong in wild conditions; and is invasive. It needs to be uprooted before it kills the seedlings. After weed and stone have been removed, the useless land becomes fertile ground, and that is the great reward for the hard labour. Jesus uses images of the natural world applying them to the conditions of a human heart.

A human heart is like this parcel of land. Its mood changes from good to bad and via versa. A loving heart; when it is neglected, can turn into a heart of stone; while God's love has the power to change a stony heart to be a heart of flesh, a heart of compassion. Jesus talks about the different moods of an individual heart when it comes to receiving God's word: the path, and the rocky, thorny, and fertile soils. Each kind of soil corresponds to a different state of the human heart.

A path is what people walked upon, and that hardened the soil. It is useless for growing, because its purpose is not for growing, but for transporting. The choice is between the path of God and of the world. The path of God leads to goodness, love, and compassion; while the path of the world leads a person to selfish ambition, hunger for power, and wealth accumulation. This leads to a hardening of heart for the poor, and for personal gain before justice.

A rocky ground has little soil, and the hot sun makes the morning dews vanish quickly. It is hard for the seed to take root, and it is too dry to survive. A rocky heart has little love for the poor and the lure of personal benefit gain will deafen the cry of others. Rock is hard and its hardness resists again change. When a person's heart becomes a heart of stone; it is the most feared of all. Like a rock, that heart resists change. However, following the path of God is very much like walking on solid rocky ground. Those who grasp firm on God's word will stand firm in his love.

Thorns are a kind of evasive weed, which is more resilient than seed. If un-uprooted it would soon take over the fertile land. Thorns in this context are bad habits, unloving behaviour which are hard to kill. Uprooting a bad habit requires constant discipline and great effort plus God's grace to make a change.

Soil, whatever kind, can't take care of itself; the fertile soil needs insecticide and fertilizer, and even rest to improve its nourishment and yield a good harvest.

From the different patches of land to different moods of a human's heart, Jesus invites his followers to examine their own hearts to see how their hearts react towards his message. Is it an open heart or one closed to his love? Whatever the conditions of the heart are; neglecting to take care of it means it soon becomes wild.

Always taking good care of one's heart is the way of the Lord.