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Gospel reflection

July 16, 2023: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel: 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 seeds 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 see 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.”


This parable may have been meant for Jesus’ disciples as much as for all the others who listened. The sower sows without knowing what effect it will have. Our task is to sow the seed and leave the rest to God. The disciples would sow without always seeing the result. The same will be true for us. The parable offers different ways of hearing and different ways of accepting and acting on what is heard.

Jesus finishes his parable by saying “Whoever has ears ought to hear.” We are invited to hear a parable which we may have heard many times before in an entirely new way. We are invited to “hear between the lines.” Parables are always invitations to see with new eyes and hear with new ears – the ears of our heart. They are often not what they seem at first or even second glance.


How will we open our hearts this week to see the world and those around us in a new way? Let us pray for the gift of understanding to see where God’s word speaks to us in this parable.

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Nancy Olson

Nancy Olson

A native of Champaign, Ill., Nancy Olson became a Providence Associate with the Sisters of Providence in 2018.

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