Today’s first reading is from a prophet called Second Isaiah who worked in Babylon in the sixth century BC and whose oracles are found in Isaiah 40-45. The word of God again plays a particularly important sacramental role in this reading. The Hebrew word dabar is translated as a spoken word as well as deed. Throughout salvation history both word and deed reveal the heart and mind of God. The word and actions of God are like the rain and snow that water the earth and provide the necessary wetness for life to continue. God’s Word does not return back to him void but achieves the end for which he sent it.
The second reading is from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans. Saint Paul reminds us that the sufferings of this life is nothing when compared to the joy of the resurrection. Our suffering from the limitations and distresses of life is joined to the cross of Christ. All creation, which in this passage denotes everything that God made except people, is suffering with them. Creation, just like humans, was wounded by the Fall and now looks forward to its redemption. For this reason, Paul preaches that, because of Adam’s sin (and all human sin), the earth was made subject to “futility,” which in Greek also denotes a useless or meaningless existence.
The Gospel reading is from the Gospel of Matthew. Today’s parable of the sower is very much based on the everyday experiences of the audience. It is a simple parable, drawn from the agricultural environment of the ordinary people of Jesus’ early Galilean community. They often see sowers sowing seeds. The main point of the parable is God’s offer of his Kingdom (salvation) to all. God is the Sower and we are the soil – of different types. If the seed falls on good soil (an open heart), it will likely produce an incredible harvest. Jesus encourages his audience to be good soil, receptive to his message.