BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ISAIAH 55:10-11 FIRST READING
(“It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will.”)
- What comes down from the heavens and what does it do to the earth? Isaiah 55:10
- What does it give to one who sows and one who eats and what shall go forth from the Lord’s mouth? Isaiah 55:10-11
- How shall it not return to the Lord, what shall the Word do, and what shall it achieve? Isaiah 55:11
- To what is the earth to hearken, and what is instructed? Deuteronomy 32:1-2
- Who is the word? John 1:1, 14
- How long will the Word stand? Isaiah 40:8
- To whom do we turn to be safe, and what does he utter?
- What does God’s Word do for us? Hebrews 4:12
- Of whom does the Lord confirm the words, and how does he carry out his plan? Isaiah 44:26
- What does the Lord say about whatever he speaks?
Personal – In what way have you been a messenger of God’s Word to your family and friends? What results have you seen take place in yourself and those you contact as you have been reading and studying God’s Word.
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 8:18-23 SECOND READING
(“I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed in us.”)
- With what is the suffering of the present nothing by
comparison? Romans 8:18
- What will we do when his glory is revealed?
1 Peter 4:13
- What does the whole created world eagerly await?
- To what was creation made subject, and by whose accord? Romans 8:20
- From what will the world be freed, and in what will it
share? Romans 8:21
- What do we await? 2 Peter 3:12-13, Rev 21:1
- What do we know all creating has done? Romans 8:22
- Why are we weighted down? 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
- Although we have the Spirit as first fruits, what do we await? Romans 8:23
- For what do we hope, and how do we yield to it? Galatians 5:5
- What will he do to our bodies, how will he do it, and for what reason? Philippians 3:21
Personal – In what do you place your hope? In what ways are you suffering, and how is your body groaning inwardly?
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 13:1-23 GOSPEL
(“To you has been given a knowledge
of the mysteries of the reign of God,….”)
- As Jesus sat by the lake shore, who gathered around him? Where did he go, and what did he do at length?
- Part of what the farmer sowed landed in four different
areas. Where were these, and what happened to the seed? Matthew 13:4-9
- What is everyone to heed and what did the disciples ask Jesus? Matthew 13:9-10
- What have they been given that others have not been given and what will happen to the man who has and the man who has not? Matthew 13:11-12
- Why did Jesus say he uses parables when he speaks?
- What is fulfilled in them? Fill in the blanks:
“Listen as _________ ________, you shall not understand; look intently as _________ _________, you shall not see.” Matthew 13:14
- How are the people’s hearts? What have they done with their ears and their eyes? Otherwise, what might happen with their ears, eyes, and hearts? Matthew 13:15
- What would happen if they would turn back to the Lord?
- What are those who see and hear? Who longed to see and
hear what we see and hear, but did not? Matt 13:16-17
- What is the seed along the path and from where does the evil one steal it? Matthew 13:19
- What is the seed that fell on patches of rock and what causes this person to falter? Matthew 13:20-21
- What is the seed that was sown among briers, what two
things choke it, and what does it produce? Matthew 13:22
- What is the seed that was sown on good soil and what does this person yield? Matthew 13:23
Personal – When you hear the message of God and do not understand it, what do you do? When you hear the message, but have no roots, how can you develop roots? What do you do when anxiety and money come before your thoughts of Jesus and the well being of others?
What changes can you make in your life right now?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 65:10-14
(“You have visited the land and watered it.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 65:10-14.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
In this passage Isaiah shows us a tremendous example of how God’s Holy Word is so dependable and long lasting. We need only look around at our world today and see what happens when rain and snow do not come upon the earth. There are droughts; then there are no crops, and the tragic result is famine. Yet, so many of us take for granted that we will never run out of water or experience a time of famine.
God’s Word is like the rain that falls on a dry, parched land. It brings forth a seed of eternal truth. The bread that is harvested from the spreading of God’s Holy Word is eternal bread; it is the real bread of life. God’s Word does not come back empty upon us. His Word is life-giving, like the soft rain on a dry desert land. His love for us feeds our spirit; and it changes our heart and inspires us to go forth and sow his seed of love, justice, mercy, hope, and faith.
Have you ever been so hungry and thirsty that you would do anything to get food or drink? Jesus is our drink, he is our food, and he will strengthen us to go forth and strengthen the least of his brothers and sisters (Matt. 25:31-41). Take hold of his Holy Word today and water the deserts of your mind and feed the hunger in your heart. You are his chosen one, he has called you by name, and his plan for you is to live a life that is at its fullest (John 10:10). God wants his Holy Word to fill all nations and bring them peace and harmony. We are called to be his chosen messengers by bringing his Word with us wherever we go (Matt. 28:19).
Paul tells us that there is a high price to be paid for being identified with Jesus. We need only look around our planet and see the results of nations that are being attacked by godless people and godless governments. Paul tells of the suffering Christians must face.
Today we might look around and say what kind of suffering are we to endure? The horror of abortion has become so commonplace that those who speak out against it are subject to ridicule, and economic and social rejection. Today many people are going to prison for the crime of trying to save unborn babies. We have read about the Babylonian god “Mardok” where the people sacrificed their children to the “fires of Mardok.” Today we see millions of children being sacrificed to the great gods of “greed and convenience.” The price for practicing our faith can be very high, and it can, in some places, result in death. We must not become complacent in the comforts of our society and ignore the responsibility to live as Jesus did. We must continue serving others, giving up our own rights, and resisting the pressures to conform to the world which always exacts a price.
We are people of hope and must not become pessimistic. We await God’s new order that will free the world of sin, sickness and evil. In the meantime, we can not watch, and stand by and do nothing, while they drag the defenseless innocents to their death. This passage refers particularly to abortion (Proverbs 24:11). We must remember that one day we will be resurrected with bodies, but they will be glorified bodies like the body that Christ now has in heaven (1 Cor. 15:50-56).
Jesus used many parables when he was speaking to the crowds. A parable helps us to understand spiritual truths by using everyday objects and relationships. A parable encourages the listener to discover truth, while at the same time concealing the truth from those too stubborn or too busy to see it.
We see in today’s Gospel passage that the call to listen is very strong. We are to have eyes that really see and ears that really hear what is going on. This passage encourages all to become spiritual farmers – those who preach, teach, and lead others to the Lord. The farmer sowed good seed, but not all responses were good because of the locations. Do not become discouraged if you spread your seed of the Holy Word of God and it is not properly received. We need to remember that it is the Holy Spirit who opens up the hardened hearts of people. The miracle of God’s Holy Spirit will take place as he uses our words to move others to come to him. A human being can hear many types of sound, but there is a deeper and special kind of listening that results in spiritual understanding. We can be assured that if we honestly seek God’s will, we will have spiritual hearing and these parables will take on dynamic new meanings for us.
Jesus did not hide the truth in parables; those who were receptive to spiritual truth understood the parables completely. To others who did not believe in God, they were only stories with various meanings. The parables allowed Jesus to give spiritual food to those who hungered for it. Today, many times, God’s Word is proclaimed with little power and much confusion by messengers who refuse to be submissive to him. We who know Jesus personally are called to love others as he loves us. We are to be held accountable to the Lord if we do not follow his commands very specifically. If we reject Jesus, our hardness of heart will drive away even the little understanding we had.
The seed in today’s passage is the Word of God, and we are called to sow it to all we meet. The four types of soil represent the different responses people have to God’s message. Some people are hardened, some are shallow, some are very distracted by the world, and some are very receptive. How have you responded? What kind of soil are you? Remember, the Word was God, (John 1:1) and the Word became Flesh (John 1:14), and the Spirit that is in you is greater than the spirit that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
The first reading tells us that God’s Word is dependable, long lasting, and will not return empty. The second reading shows us that the cost of discipleship is very high. The Gospel reveals that the seed in today’s passage is the Word of God and we are all called to sow it.
Let us, this week, be faithful, humble messengers of God by reading our scripture readings to someone we know. Take the day’s readings and read them to a sick relative or a small child, a loved one, and especially your husband or wife. Study the readings, share what they mean to you, and LIVE THE READINGS, especially with your family. His Word will not return empty when you are being his messenger.