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Gospel reflection

July 12, 2020: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading: Matthew 13:1-9

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


I have many questions that arise from my 2020 read of this familiar passage and what I think are new images showing up for me. God is the seed and we are the soil. Had I come to that image and understanding before? Is that accurate? Maybe God is both and we are also both? Does it even really matter? I’ll continue to play with that.

It’s interesting to me to look back over my shoulder and see that at different parts of my life, I have been each type of soil. I have at times been on my own path and not open to new growth. I have felt God’s nudges in me or fire for God externally and no inner changes really happened. I have been hyper-critical of the human church and threw up my hands and didn’t participate in being part of the solution — like a thorn choking the garden. Most of the work going on now is tilling the soil, some weeding and tossing out of stones [keeping some that I like as a marker or reminder of a path crossed], watering and watching. I am moving some things around and doing some repotting and edging. Mostly, I am waiting on the very slow and day by day growth. I am not the master gardener.


Wherever you are on this earth, go in search of a way to dig in dirt this week at least one time! Weed your garden, repot an indoor plant, drop some new seeds in the earth and poke holes to tuck them in tightly. Get your hands dirty.

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Alice Shelton

Providence Associate Alice Shelton lives in Indianapolis with her husband John. She is a graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and enjoys her work as director of business services at Marian University.

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