Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn, SNDdeN

Jul 12, 2023 | Gospel Reflections

July 16, 2023

Matthew 13:1-23

Jesus introduces Himself as a sower of seeds. Indeed, He is a loving God who generously sows seeds, not in the ground but in our hearts.

Our understanding of who Jesus is deepens as we look at Him telling His followers about the Kingdom. He shares His dream, a big picture dream described in words we can all understand. For Him, the Kingdom is that place where we all love God and each other. The Jewish people lived in fear of a king who would invade, take prisoners, and plunder their land. Jesus assuages those fears with a promise of new life, presenting Himself as a farmer who, rather than take from them, sows seed generously.

And so, in His Presence, we ask, “How is my heart? Is it thorny, a source of barbs to people who annoy me? Is it so shallow that seeds cannot take root? Or is it warm and rich with nutrients of care and concern for everyone I meet?”

And what are these seeds our loving God so eagerly plants in our hearts? They are the seeds of faith, hope and love that lead us to say to Him, I believe You, I trust You, I love You. These seeds burst forth prayer energy, love of oneself and of each other, as well as decisive action for justice and care of creation.



Matthew 13: 1-23

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted, and I heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
“Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”



Meet Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn, SNDdeN

Sr. Mary Ann recently retired as Director of Development for the Ohio Province of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She has been in province leadership for 15 years, served on a variety of province, inter-province and congregational committees. She has also done work for the Church on a national level and served as chairperson of a high school religion department. Sister Mary Ann currently lives at Mt. Notre Dame in Cincinnati, Ohio.