15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A sower went out to sow … Let anyone with ears listen!

Matthew 13:3

Begin with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.

This is a 5 minute facilitated meditation on opening ourselves to the presence of God within, particularly in the context of our current confinement

Alternatively use this method of entering quiet:

Invite all present to sit comfortably.

When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.

Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen

Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Introduce the Gospel

On this Sunday we celebrate the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The parable of the sower is told twice, in an original form and in a later, church interpretation. The explanation tends to dominate our reading; but it might be worthwhile allowing the original parable to “speak.” It tells of small, even careless, beginnings—the sower scatters all over the place. As we see in nature, tiny seeds have an astonishing, miraculous effect.

As you begin this time of reflection on the Gospel, take a moment to go back over your own experience and recall something which began modestly but which in the end grew surprisingly.

The reign of God is like that— the modest beginnings of Jesus’ own preaching had tremendous effect.

Read the GospelMatthew 13:1-23
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.

Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.
He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’
Then the disciples went up to him and asked, ‘Why do you talk to them in parables?’ ‘Because’ he replied, ‘the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them. For anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding. So in their case this prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled:

You will listen and listen again, but not understand,
see and see again, but not perceive.
For the heart of this nation has grown coarse,
their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes,
for fear they should see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their heart,
and be converted
and be healed by me.

Isaiah 6

‘But happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear! I tell you solemnly, many prophets and holy men longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.

‘You, therefore, are to hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path. The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once. The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing. And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’


Reflect on the Gospel

Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use the quietening music again if you wish

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Using some or all of the following questions, today and or on different occasions over the coming week reflect on this Gospel passage.

  1. Jesus uses parables to make people think about their own responses to his message. As you read this parable you may recognise that at different times you have been like each of the different types of soil.
    As you recall times when you presented fertile soil for the word of God, what helped you create that receptive atmosphere? What lessons for life do you get from that?
  2. Parents with children, teachers with pupils, speakers with listeners, are all like sowers in a field where the preparation of the soil is up to another—the child, pupil or listener. They can sow the seed but cannot guarantee that it will bear fruit. At times there may be a temptation not to try any more. The challenge is to sow in hope.
    When have you been surprised by the harvest you have reaped?
  3. “We are wasting our time here” may sometimes be the apparent wisdom in a group.
    Have there been times when you have gone against this apparent wisdom and seen your efforts bear fruit?

Finish this part with a Prayer

God of the heavens, God of the earth, all creation awaits your gift of new life.
Prepare our hearts to receive the word of your Son, that his gospel may grow
within us and yield a harvest that is a hundredfold.
Through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.


Prayer of the Faithful

In the Mass, the prayer of the faithful are the people’s response to their reflection on the Scripture readings and are spoken to God in the second person. The following have been prepared by Hugh Clifford, Kilquade Parish for our Masses on this weekend.

Begin:  God of our longing, we hear today that even the smallest of beginnings can become life changing, confident in your touch on all that we are we turn to you in prayer for our world, our community and ourselves.

For the Church…pause…  that we may spread the hopeful and exciting message of the Gospel through both our words and deeds so that others may come to know you more fully. Lord hear us

For the courage to share our faith through stories: …pause… that we may offer others the joy of coming to know Your love through sharing the story of our journey with God. Lord hear us

For Your created world: …pause…  that we may promote respect for Your creation and cooperate with Your plan as it evolves towards fulfilment. Lord hear us

For a calming of the restlessness in our hearts: …pause…   that we may find fulfilment of our deepest longings within Your tender embrace. Lord hear us

For refugees and immigrants: …pause… that we may welcome them as a brother or sister in You, so all may be treated with love and respect. Lord hear us

For a new springtime of Justice:…pause…That your reign of Justice and Peace may develop abundantly in our hearts and in all the structures of our society. Lord hear us

For our own intentions: name those intentions you specifically want to mention 
Lord hear us

For all who have died  ………. name those people you specifically want to remember 
Lord hear us

Gathering Prayer:

God of the heavens, God of the earth, all creation awaits your gift of new life. Prepare our hearts to receive Your Word, that it may grow within us and yield a harvest that is a hundredfold.  We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Take a moment now to bring to mind those you want to share peace with, family, friends, those where your relationship is broken.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Additional Resources

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Readings in Written or on Video


The Spirit of God is seeking to create a newness in our lives, that calls us to a fresh wholeness that requires much letting go of what we have known, and co-creating with God an undreamt-of future for our church, for our world and for ourselves. This does not mean forgetting the past, which has brought us to the present.

The Gospel life is about a new future in God. In an incarnational, evolutionary universe nothing is complete and God is still creating. We are a central part of this creation which is happening in our midst.

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