Friday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time



Ex20:1-17; Ps19:8-11; Mt13:18-23
“The decree of the LORD is trustworthy giving wisdom to the simple.”

The word of the Lord in Psalm 19 goes on and on with praise for the Word of the Lord. Our ancestors in faith hear the Word of the Lord as a law, decree, precept, command, ordinance, and all these words are more precious than gold and sweeter than honey from the comb. These words of the Lord address a people, who were just a collection of slaves, and make of them a nation. That’s why the Word of the Lord is more precious than a heap of purest gold and sweeter than honey. This revelation from the mountain through the First Moses, all these commandments come from a jealous God who gives these slaves a dignity they had forgotten in their slavery. These Ten Commandments challenge the slaves to live a new life of freedom as beloved children who know the will of God and grow in desire to fulfill that will. Like a Divine Sower, the Lord Jesus casts with abandon the seed of the Word among those who long for refreshment, wisdom, rejoicing, enlightenment and justice. We are among those who come to the Lord Jesus and listen to his precious parables and taste the sweetness of God’s Word.

During the many years of slavery the children of Israel gave themselves over to the ways of their oppressors. They forgot their dignity and denied their holiness as they sought to survive their servitude. Yet, The LORD who is faithful to fulfill his promises hears their deepest longing for dignity and holiness and sends Moses to lead them to the mountain of revelation. In those days God delivered directives that take their newborn freedom and use it to reveal his holiness and to secure their own dignity. These commandments were not a denial of their liberation, rather this Word of the Lord revealed how they were to live and grow into the fullness of freedom. Without guidelines our inborn desire to have our own way becomes a tyrannical god. We cannot live with God or one another if we do not live in mutual and loving respect. The God, who first loved us and revealed his respect for us, brought us out of that place of slavery—to our passions, desires, plans for self fulfillment. His love for us is a holy jealousy that lays claim upon us. From the very first day of the week we become what we love. We love the God who gives us freedom and dignity, indeed our very life. No longer do our oppressors define who we are. We belong to God and our lives of gratitude reveal his holiness. By loving God and keeping his commands we learn how to love one another and obey, speak the truth, never kill, never commit adultery, never covet. By God’s precious words of command we taste the real sweetness of a covenant life.

This revelation from The Master through his prophet Jeremiah prepared a chosen people to be a fertile field into which the Lord would sow the seeds of the Kingdom. However this well worked ground is and still remains less than completely fruitful. The ground may be a busy path that resists the penetration of the seed. The ground may be rocky and initially receptive but provides little support for new roots. The ground may already be filled with anxiety and attachment that chokes out new growth. Even though the Divine Sower encounters such resistance, He still sows with abandon. Indeed the New Jeremiah, Jesus the Lord, provides the seed of Kingdom Joy in the Eucharist that surprises everyone by producing in our lives an abundant yield of a hundred or sixty or thirty-fold. This parable, when first heard, produced abundant laughter and great joy among the farmers who heard it. No merely human and natural combination could ever expect such an abundant harvest. It was comical even to imagine such bounty. Yet, with eyes of faith we behold the Kingdom is near.