Homily for July 13, 2014: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Fr. Jim Miller

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 IS 55:10-11

Responsorial Psalm PS 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14

R/ The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.

Reading 2 ROM 8:18-23

Gospel MT 13:1-23

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It was a year ago this July 17 that my brother-in-law, Jack Boyle, died after battling cancer for about 9 months.   He was a year younger than me.   It started me thinking that it might be time to see if I could get closer to my family, most of them are in the Cascade area.  I wrote a letter to the PAB and the Archbishop suggesting that it would be a good time to make a move.  I did say that I would serve wherever the Archbishop wanted me and I was surprised when he suggested Nativity.   I am a distant cousin of the Resslers’ so have a connection through Msgr. Wayne Ressler.   Fr. Mike Mescher is a friend of mine and was a neighbor in Tama, and Fr. Dwayne Thoman and Fr. Mark Ressler and I were all ordained in 1976.   The Archbishop asked that I continue as Vicar for Hispanic Ministry and hoped that I would be available to help out with confessions and Masses once in a while in parishes with a significant Hispanic congregation.  I will be going back to Marshalltown in October when Fr. Greg Bahl will be leading a retreat.

I am the oldest of seven children;  I have three brothers and three sisters.  My three sisters and one of my brothers’ and his family helped to move me in.

I am still trying to simplify and downsize as much as possible.   I appreciate living in a home away from the office again after nine years of “living over the store”.

The prophet Isaiah has a great word of hope for us when we hear the Lord say “my word shall not return to be void, but shall do my will achieving the end for which I sent it.”  Sometimes I look at all that is happening in the world and wonder how many people are closed to the Word or indifferent to the Word or actively trying to destroy the Word.

The suffering and groaning of which Paul speaks is not only the byproduct of sin, but also an integral aspect of the believer’s belonging to Christ.  Just as suffering was Jesus’ path to glory, so will suffering and struggle be disciples’ means to exaltation.  However the struggles of the present cannot compare to the glory that will be revealed in us.  

I do not consider myself to be a great preacher but I will try to relate God’s Word to your lives.   Growing up Dad did not consider it a meal unless there was meat and potatoes.   I strive to give homilies that may not be fancy but hopefully are solid food that can give you something to chew on—like meat and potatoes.

As the community of Matthew in the 80’s explains Jesus’ original parable of the sower; we are each invited to evaluate how receptive we have been to God’s missionary efforts.  Did we initially welcome the word, but then turn away from its truth when times got tough?  Have worry and anxiety and the lure of riches caused us to turn a deaf ear to the word’s challenges?  Or do we listen and allow ourselves to become disciples of the word in good times and in bad?  And then, with the grace and strength offered to us through the Sprit do we continue to bear good fruits of faith and service?

As evangelizers, we are to be eager witnesses to the good news of salvation, not only in what we say but also in what we do, how we live, how we choose a job, how we vote, how we choose our friends, how we tend to the earth’s resources, how we give voice to the needs of the poor and the voiceless and the marginalized in society.