Reflections 12th July 2020

A Reflection for the Fifteenth Sunday of the Year

MT 13: 1-23 (

We all carry images and ideas of God many of which derive from our childhood. They can influence the way that we pray, and how we approach everything to do with faith. The answer to the question “What does God want?” will be deeply shaped by our image of God. 

It might be helpful for this week's readings to stay with the image of God as gardener!  

The Scripture for today, across the three readings from Isaiah, Paul and Matthew, suggests that what God wants can be summed up in one word: FRUITFULNESS!  

God simply wants human beings as creatures made in the image and likeness of God to become what we are. God wants the word sown in us, whatever the circumstances of our lives, to bear fruit in us. So, what would that look like?  

Let’s stay with the image of God the gardener who is putting shape on this wonderful plot that is so full of potential. Let’s recognise that as creatures in his blessed creation we are called to live as people who are part of the gift that is “groaning in one great act of giving birth”. We are engaged as co-creators with God in helping this garden to flower and to come to fruitfulness. We are called to live our human lives by growing up, by paying attention to the soil we are planted in. 

Today we are invited to take the time to ask ourselves if God’s word has any chance at all of taking root in us. Is the soil dried up, never fertilized by words of hope and love but nourished only on a drip-feed of negativity?  Do the thistles and briars of anxiety and worry choke it once a start has been made? Is growth inhibited by anger, resentment or the fear of failure?  What is preventing me from living a fruitful life and cooperating with the gardener God? 

What the readings make clear is that from the gardener’s side nothing is lacking. God’s word is fruitful, his creation is fruitful and he wants us to trust him and open ourselves to the power of his Spirit through the word so that we too might bear fruit! 


Sean Goan: Coordinator of Spiritan Mission Ireland, Belfast-born Sean is married, and has 3 children. He taught for many years in Blackrock College and was chaplain there (2014-2017). He studied Scripture in Rome, Jerusalem and Chicago. He published The Sign in 2018.