Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Seed Wasted?  Don’t Worry

The number of Catholics in our parish has been steadily falling.  Since the 2001 census, the numbers have fallen about 9% over ten years, the Weekend Mass attendance has been steady at about 20% of the Catholic population.  Contrary to popular belief, our parish is not an aging one, though the Sunday congregation is made up of more seniors. The average age of the parishioners has been consistent between 19 and 20 according to the census during the decade.  The question then is why are more people dropping out of the Church? Why the Church is not important for the 80% of those who call themselves Catholic Christians?  It is not just us asking questions about the lack of response to the churches invitation.  Similar questions were asked by early Christians, though the context were not the same.

The first century Christians either had witnessed risen Christ personally or were evangelised by people who had known Jesus personally.  Despite the compelling evidence of Jesus’ resurrection and the ardent preaching by his disciples, many members of the community and some of their own families had refused to come to faith.  Therefore, the early Christians wondered why their evangelisation efforts were not fully effective.  To that end, evangelist Matthew presents the parable of the Sower as Jesus’ answer.

The Word of God is like the seed that is scattered.  Only the ones that fall in the right soil will produce harvest.  The rest, because of various reasons will be wasted.  That shall not discourage the Sower to continue to spread the seed.  Even though only a portion of the population will be like the tilled and prepared ground for the seed, the Kingdom of God will continue to flourish.

At a personal level, this story invites us to think of the different stages of openness in our lives to the Word of God, with varying experience of the Kingdom experience.  A productive Christian is the one who does not allow the worldly concerns choke the Word of God presented to him/her.  Good disciples do not harden their hearts like hard and rocky soil.  They will be open to the Word of God in the Bible and in the prompting of God in their hearts.  Like a tiny seed can bring about marvellous harvest, the Word of God can work wonders in our lives too.