THE Lord told this parable, "A sower went out to sow his seed, and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold." As He said this, He exclaimed, "Anyone with ears to hear, let them hear!"
Then His disciples asked Jesus what this parable meant. He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to others it is given in parables, so that 'looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand' (Isaiah 6:9). Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God. The ones that fell on the path are those who have heard, then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The ones that fell on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root, they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear, but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. But as for what fell in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance."
As He said this, He exclaimed, "Anyone with ears to hear, let them hear!"
In this well-known parable, Christ is both the Sower and the Seed. As He explains, "The seed is the Word of God." The Word of God is one of the names of Jesus - "In the beginning was the Word..." (John 1:1). And it is Christ Who puts His word, Himself into us, sometimes quite literally during the Communion.
Being the Sower, Christ fulfills the prophecy from the Book of Isaiah 55:10-13, which says in part, "...so shall My Word be that goes out from My mouth. It shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it..."
The different types of the soil or ground upon which the seed, or the Word of God, falls are us, the people who hear the Word. Obviously different types of soil produce different results. A walk path that has been trampled upon and hardened will produce a lot less, if at all, then a soil that has been tilled and fertilized.
Today there is a false belief among some Christians that if a person believes in Christ, then he or she is permanently saved at the moment of the profession of faith. The Church as never taught this, the Church has never held this belief for one simple reason - it is not true. The Lord's parable of the Sower illustrates this perfectly. There are people who will hear the Word of God, but will not care enough about it to let the Word change them. It is possible to believe for a while and then fall away.
We need to be careful not to think that we are not one of those people whose heart is like a trampled and hardened path. Showing up to church on Sunday does not make us a fertile soil for the Word of God to take root and grow. Praying or reading the Bible does not do the trick either.
In order for the Word of God to produce a hundredfold in us we must be Christians on purpose, intentionally. Being part of a parish community, attending services regularly, participating in the sacraments of the Church, praying, and reading the Scriptures are all part of this intention. As well as being charitable, to ourselves and to those around us, developing patience and humility, and working to transform ourselves and letting Christ to work in us.
Being Christian is life, it is not part of life.
Yours in the Lord,
Father Aleksey - your friendly Singac priest