Planting God’s Word
(Go outside, if possible, for this Liturgy of the Word.)
Opening Question: How many of you have played in the rain? What did you do?
First Reading: Isaiah 55:10-11
What does rain do? It makes plants grow! Let’s play a game. We’re seeds. When the rain falls let’s all sprout our leaves. Ready? Go!
God’s word is like the rain he sends from heaven. It changes things. Like the rain, God’s word makes things grow and become alive.
What plants are colorful? Did God make them colorful? How?
Bridging Question: Have you ever started or worked in a garden? What did you grow? Did you like to work in the garden? Why or why not?
Gospel: Matthew 13:1-9
During the day, Jesus left the house to sit along the Sea of Galilee so he could teach the people. So many people gathered to hear Jesus, he had to get into a boat and sit off shore while people stood along the shoreline. Jesus told parables to explain many things about God’s kingdom.
“Listen!” Jesus said. “There was a farmer who threw seeds around to plant grain in his fields. As he threw the seeds around, some of them fell on the path where the farmer walked. The birds came and gobbled all of it up. Other seed fell on rocks only covered with a little soil. They quickly sprouted because the soil was so thin. When the sun came up, it dried the new plants out since they did not have long enough roots to get water. Other seeds fell on ground which also had thorn seedlings. The thorn plants grew so quickly and thickly, the grain seeds could not grow. But some seeds fell on good soil. And the seeds produced grain, one hundred times, sixty times, and thirty times more than what the farmer planted. Listen to what I say!”
Mrs. Dowd planned an special extra credit project for her class. She arranged to start a garden in the back of the school to grow vegetables for needy families in the community. Volunteers would tend the garden in four groups. Tod led a group, Maria led another group, Jack led the third group, and Justina led the fourth group.
All the groups worked hard the first day. They broke up the hard soil, watered it, and mixed in fertilizer. At the end of the first day, all the groups received their seeds to plant.
Tod’s group planted the seeds on the second day, water the seeds a little, and went home. They were done in 15 minutes. Maria’s group re-raked the soil to loosen up the rocks. They worked hard for 30 minutes. Then, they watered the soil, planted the seeds, and went home. Jack’s and Justina’s groups raked, loosened up the soil, and began to pull out the rocks. After an hour, these two groups went home without planting the seeds.
On the third day, Tod’s group showed up, congratulated themselves on a good job, then went home. At least, Maria’s group watered their seeds, then they, too, went home. Jack’s and Justina’s groups worked again at removing the rocks from the soil.
Day four. Tod’s group didn’t show up. Maria’s group came watered and went home. Jack and Justina’s group removed the rest of the rocks and planted the seeds after an hour’s work.
Day five. Maria’s, Jack’s, Justina’s groups watered the plants and went home.
For the next two weeks, the pattern was the same until the plants started to sprout. Maria’s and Jack’s groups continued to water, while Justina’s group began to look for weeds. They took the extra time to weed and tend the soil.
A month later, the class went to the garden for group reports. Tod’s group found that nothing grew. The birds must have eaten the seed. Maria’s plants had spouted, but were now dead. The rocks kept the seeds from sprouting roots, so watering them was useless. Jack’s group found that their seeds sprouted, but their plot was taken over by fast growing weeds. But, Justina’s group had a plot full of ripe vegetables. Their plot was well watered, well worked, and weed free. Their work paid off.
If our hearts were like the soil in the stories we heard, how would we tend them? We would have to soften them up so they wouldn’t be hard and hateful. We would have to remove the rocks of anger and jealousy. We would have to water them with love. And we would have to put the weeds of fights with “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you.” Then our hearts would grow the fruit of kindness and compassion. How can we do this? We say “yes” to Jesus the gardener. His love will help our hearts grow, closer to him and closer to each other.
Closing Question: Think of ways to soften your heart and say "yes" to Jesus.