The first word out of the Lord’s mouth, as conveyed by Isaiah, is very important: “as”… A powerful comparison is being drawn here between something to which every human being can relate to – rain – and the Word of God. Note that the one long sentence which comprises the entire First Reading conveys several meaningful images. “Rain and snow” do many things: they provide moisture to the earth which prepares it for farming, which produces the seed which is later used to plant in order to produce more seed; and eventually that seed becomes the bread we eat which sustains our life.
In the same way, the Word of God is not an empty gesture, it produces an effect. Like rain, the Word is sent for a purpose; it fulfills that purpose by preparing our souls to produce good fruit. Furthermore, since it is part of God’s plan, God’s Word cannot fail in finishing what it was sent to do, despite all the “weeds” and vandalism which it encounters. Some seed (God’s Word) will not be successful because of the hardness of the ground (hearts) it encounters. But there is always a faithful remainder who will “hear” God’s Word and respond in faith by acting upon that word.
Because it is God’s plan, there is no “magical” quality about it. God’s Will will always be completed through human beings, even though resistance and dissent may delay the final generous harvest.
Catholics encounter this “everlasting seed” of the Word of God in our Baptism, where it produces its life-giving effect. We Catholics pray daily for our daily Bread of Life, which our Faith tells us is the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ received in the Eucharist.
Also see articles #1228#459, and #2835in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.