Sunday Sermon for July 16, 2023, the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Readings: Is 55:10-11; Rom 8:18-23; Mt 13:1-23

In the second reading today, St. Paul says two things that are a bit shocking at first glance.  At the end of the reading, he says we are waiting “for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”  Earlier in the reading he says, “creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God.”  Are we not already the children of God?  Do we not, as St. Paul himself tells us, already have adoption as sons?  Why, then, are we awaiting adoption?  And, if we are already children of God, why is creation waiting for our revelation?

We are, indeed, the children of God.  One way to look at this is with reference to the Gospel reading today.  In the parable of the sower and the seed, we know there are the four types of ground upon which the seed falls.  While our Lord speaks of seed as those who hear the Word of God, we will take this one step further.  Let’s make the seed every person who has been baptized. 

We all know the tragedy that so many who are baptized do not persevere in their faith.  Some are baptized, but not catechized.  Others receive catechetical instruction, but it does not sink in any further than the surface.  Others like what they hear, but in order to fit in with the world, they compromise the truth.  Others will embrace the Faith and live it in their lives.

Using these four possibilities, we can say that every baptized person is a child of God.  From the moment of baptism, there is the question that people asked about St. John the Baptist: what is this child to be?  Creation watches and waits for the answer to that question.  In other words, creation is waiting for the revelation of who this person is going to be. 

If the sower sows wheat in the ground, we can say, from the moment it pops out of the ground, that this is a wheat plant.  However, we do not know what will become of that plant.  Will it grow to its full potential and bear much fruit, or will its growth be stunted by internal and external pressures?  Only time will reveal the answer to those questions.  So, from the first moment of our baptism, we are children of God, but creation is watching and waiting for the full revelation of who we are.  Will we be great Saints?  Will we be great sinners?  Will we be lukewarm and be spewed from the mouth of our Lord?  We do not even know the answers to these questions right now, so even we ourselves await the full revelation of who we will be.

Even if we truly live according to our dignity as children of God and we become great Saints, the fullness of the revelation of our union with and our love for God will still not be fully revealed.  We will know our place in Heaven and we will be loving God and being loved by God to the fullness of our ability, but until our bodies rise from the dead to be reunited with our souls, we will not be loving and being loved in the fullness of our person, that is, both body and soul. 

So, there is still a fuller revelation that will take place on the day of the resurrection.  What is amazing about this, is that the revelation will be primarily to our own self.  At the present time, the body has a variety of limitations.  On the most basic level, recall what happened after our Lord rose from the dead and was able to enter the Upper Room without opening the door.  We see in this that even the body’s physical limitations will be removed.

Beyond this, we will know in a completely different way.  Right now, our knowledge comes through the bodily senses.  That is, we know things from seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, etc.  In Heaven, knowledge will be infused directly into our minds without having to go through the senses.  

Most importantly, we will be able to love with our whole being.  At present, it is difficult for us to be able to express our love fully in and through the body.  In Heaven, the body will participate in the glory of the redeemed and love will radiate through our bodies in a way we have never experienced.  Since we will be loving God and neighbor, it will result in a revelation to others.  The Word of God will be fulfilled, creation will be freed, and as children of God, we will reveal the love of God in a way only human persons are able to do: in both body and soul.  This is the awaited revelation; this is the glory of the children of God!

Fr. Altier’s column appears regularly in The Wanderer, a national Catholic weekly published in St. Paul, Minn. For information about subscribing to The Wanderer, please visit