Homily ·Ordinary time
By Archbishop Gomez
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
July 12, 2014

My brothers and sisters in Christ,1

Our readings this morning from Sacred Scriptures remind us that our God is the God of Life and the God of all Creation.

And I was listening to the beautiful first reading from the prophet Isaiah, I was thinking that we are still living in this time of severe drought here in our state of California.

So I think we should especially pray for rain cause God is the God who is in charge. That is what the prophet Isaiah is reminding us. He gives us what we need in due season. So let’s keep praying and asking God to send us rain from the heavens to water our earth and our family farms especially here in the state of California.

Of course the prophet Isaiah is not just talking about the material, physical seed that we plant and the rain that waters our crops. These beautiful readings, the first reading and especially the passage of the Gospel talk to us about a relationship with God, and that this relationship that we have with God is something that is living and growing.

So these readings want us to know that we need to take care of that relationship, a relationship with God, because our faith in Jesus Christ bears “good fruits” to make God’s Kingdom grow on earth.

In the passage of the Gospel — the parable of the sower, a parable we know well — Jesus

is telling us that God’s Word is like a seed that he is planting in the earth. He is planting his Word — not in the soil or in the ground. He’s planting his Word in the human heart. In your heart and in my heart.

As we know, the “sower” is like a farmer who is going out to plant seeds. And as we heard, some of the seeds fell on the pathway that he is walking on. Some of it fell on ground that was filled with rocks and some more of it got tangled up in thorns. And finally, some of the seed fell on good soil and was able to grow.

And what Jesus is saying is that this is how it is with the Word of God, with the Gospel, Sacred Scripture.

So my brothers and sisters, we have to let the Word of the Gospel take root and grow in our heart. We have to receive God’s Word and we have to let it grow and bloom, just as a plant or a flower grows and blooms when it is planted in the ground.

So the question that Jesus wants us to think about today is this: What kind of “ground” do we have in our hearts? Do we have a heart that is ready for the Gospel, are we really open to what God wants for our lives?

Good questions for us to reflect on and especially this week as we continue to meditate on the readings of today’s Mass. Good questions for us so try to ask ourselves and, of course, ask for the grace of God that we can respond in a positive way. Because that’s what we want, that’s why we are here.

The reality is that sometimes our hearts can be like that hard path in the parable. Because maybe we are not paying enough attention to our spiritual lives. So we hear the Word of God, we hear the commandment to love one another, but we don’t really let it “sink in.” We don’t let it penetrate us and change us. So we have to ask ourselves whether our heart is like that.

Sometimes other times, maybe the soil of our hearts can be like the rocky ground that Jesus talks about.

That happens when we are excited and enthusiastic about following Jesus, but then we do not put enough effort into our relationship with God. We don’t pray every day, we don’t make enough effort to try to love and serve God. We have to watch out for this, because it means that the Gospel is not really taking root in our heart.

And then the other “condition” that Jesus talks about is the thorny ground. That’s when we get too caught up in the cares of the world. And this can happen to all of us. We get too busy, we are worried about many things. We can get too concerned about trying to be comfortable or having more things — we get worried about it.

So when this happens, it is like the words of Jesus are not really that important anymore and it really blocks the love of God inside us. So we have to be careful with that too.

So let us today especially ask for that grace— to be always prepared in the best possible way to receive God’s Word in our hearts. So that we become people who “bear good fruit” for Jesus. That’s what we want.

People, who are concerned about others, who are concerned about sharing the love of God with others — we really want to be people that “bears good fruit.”

So I was thinking of maybe one good practical suggestion for how we can really make our hearts “good soil” and bear “good fruits.”

And my suggestion today is this: that we should all be more positive in lives. We should always try to have a good attitude and a smile for others.

This seems like just a little thing that we are already doing. But we have to do it more. But besides that, it’s not that easy to be always nice and positive and optimistic and have a smile and a positive attitude in our lives. It’s challenging. Sometimes the microphone is not working properly. Sometimes our team is not in the World Cup Final or the Lakers are not doing that well. They just lost Gasol and you know… So it’s not easy to be positive and smile. I’m sure that the Lakers are going to do great, but that’s another problem.

It’s true, it’s challenging, but we really need to understand that we are children of God. And St. Paul reminds us in the second reading that we are children of God, don’t you think that we should always be happy and have a positive attitude in our lives?? Don’t you think that we could do a little better in listening to other people, supporting them, helping them?

That’s a practical suggestion for us to work on this week. So let us try this week to offer up a small sacrifice of smiling at that person every day! Saying a kind word to somebody that is going through a difficult situation. Just making life better for others. And that way, we can make sure that the Word of God is coming to our hearts — we are open to that, we see that there are many good things that we can do and that we do it and really become people that “bear fruit” for God. That’s what we want to be.

So let’s ask our Blessed Mother Mary to help us with that. So that like her, that we can be listen to God’s Word and really let it grow in inside of us — in our hearts. So that we can bear good fruits, fruits of love and mercy for one another.

1. Readings (Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A): Isa. 55:10-11; Ps. 65:10-14; Rom. 8:18-23; Matt. 13:1-23.

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