First reading: Isaiah 55:10-11
Psalm: Psalm 64(65)
Second reading: Romans 8:18-23
Gospel: Matthew 13:1-23
Link to readings.
In today’s First Reading, from the prophet Isaiah, we are encouraged by the effectiveness of God at work in the world through his word.
The Second Reading shows the eagerness of creation, which awaits God’s gifts of freedom, growth and purpose. As St Paul reminds us, we, too, possess the first-fruits of the Holy Spirit.
These are recurring themes. The Psalm speaks of the abundance of creation through the care of the Creator. The Gospel reveals that same Creator (as a sower) seeking a rich soil that will produce a good crop.
Perhaps, this week, we can renew our commitment to the way of Christ, and to remember the freedom and glory that we enjoy as children of God. We might also carry with us the words of the Gospel acclamation:‘Speak Lord, your servant is listening; you have the message of eternal life’.
Isaiah 55: 10–11
I come to my place of prayer and settle here gently. I take my time to become aware of the presence of God. I make a slow sign of the cross and quietly become still.
I read, very slowly, this text from the great prophet Isaiah.
I pause over any words or phrases that seem to resonate within.
I hold and savour them. Why this particular line … why this particular word? Is the Lord ‘carrying out his will’ in me at this very moment?
I stop to ponder…
I may feel drawn to reflect on the words ‘watering’ and ‘giving growth’. When, in my life, have I experienced this nurturing activity of the Lord? Perhaps the Lord’s watering is so gentle and unnoticed it may require me to pause regularly, and take note with the help of the Spirit.
Maybe something about the ‘success’ of the Lord’s work catches my attention. Do I have a sense of a time when the Lord’s will was being done in me?
Perhaps, in these prayerful moments, I can give thanks for those times when the Lord’s word did not return to him ‘empty’, but ‘full’ ... from having worked in the soil of my life.
At the close of my prayer I end with a slow ‘Glory be …’
Matthew 13: 1–23 (Shorter Form)
As I come to my place of prayer I pause to take note of how I am. What sort of mood am I in? Whatever my sense of self, I give it to the Lord in trust. I know I can come as I am. I don’t have to pretend.
I read the text prayerfully. I may feel a little shallow today or, perhaps, choked by the demands of life. Maybe I feel tempted, at times, to remain ‘at the edge’. But however I feel, I continue to trust.
I read the text prayerfully, again, and allow the Lord who loves me with an everlasting love to touch me.
If there is any hardness to the soil of my life, can I let the touch of the Sower soften it?
Where do I sense there may be weeds or thorns?
Again, I hand over these areas of my life to the one who loves me.
Perhaps I am also conscious of a richness and a depth to my life. Where do I have a sense of these fertile places? I thank the Lord for them.
What is the seed that the Lord wishes to plant with – or within – me? If I can, I share this with the Lord now, and offer him my willingness to accept that seed and help it flourish.
Reflections based on Prego by St Bueno's Outreach in Diocese of Wrexham