The word of God inspires eager longing and hope.
The theme of eager longing and hope runs through the three readings today, and invite us to reflect on them in our dialogue with our modern situation. The people of Israel, to whom the first reading was addressed, were in very low spirits during the exile in Babylon, with little hope of any meaningful future. The prophet communicated God’s word to them that the divine plans were quite different. God was with them in the past and the word of their God lasts for ever. A new age was in store or them, and this immediately, a divine promise that awoke their eager longing for the better life. As of divine origin, the promise was no empty one, but one of the hope based on divine truth and God’s fidelity to his promises. And longing and the hope led to action on their part.
Likewise in the text of Paul to the Romans, where there are references to the groaning and eager awaiting of creation itself for the revelation of the freedom and the glory that are proper to the children of God. Creation might be regarded as God’s cloak of glory, and so also should it be with regard to humanity, creation as intended by God to befit the glory proper to the children of God. Paul regards creation as lacking something of what it was intended originally to have. Today creation, the environment, is regarded as in danger, not by God but by human neglect or misuse. There is a special interest in the protection of the environment, something very much in keeping with the text of Paul read today.
And with regard to the image of the Sower one may observe that the sower and seed sowing are very much part of Irish political and revolutionary history: the seed sown by former generation comes to fruition in a later harvest and inspires action by later generations. This should help us to understand the significance of the seed and the sower in the parable read in today’s Mass. The seed is the Word of God. Throughout history the Sower is God himself, and his Son Jesus. Jesus is still the Sower, and his voice, the Word of God, still resonates. But we should not forget that every believer in God and in Jesus is a seed sower, by their word and example. They, we, should not worry if the seed often falls on rocky or barren ground, or among thorns and thistles. This has always been the case. But there will always be fertile soil, immediately or in the future. Let the seed sowing continue.