The Second Sunday Before Lent
20 Feb 2022
The Gospel. St. Luke viii. 4.
When much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way-side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way-side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Today’s Gospel is a parable about the Church; indeed, it applies to our entire world. We have the advantage of having Jesus’ own words explaining it to us. The seed is truly the word of God which we have been blessed to receive. Jesus is certainly the Sower, but as Christians we are also responsible to sew the word of God among all whose lives we touch.
In the parable, some of the seed is devoured by fowls or trodden under foot. We can see in this world that the Word of God is subject to the abuse of forces that disdain the message and the deliverers. Christians are under attack in all the contemporary forms of communications—radio, television, the internet, and all others. The current world’s sneer is everywhere apparent. For some of us this is a surprise as earlier in our life the Christian message was treated with respect. Alas, no more. The current gods of this world—the politicians, athletes, and entertainment figures are all making it quite clear how little the Seed of the Sower means to them. They are the fowls of the air; they are the tramplers.
Some of the seed fell upon the rock, and when it was spring up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. The word of God cannot grow in our hearts without moisture—constant replenishment through our prayers, Scripture reading, and acts of charity. When there is a drought, everything dies. When the people are deprived of the word of God worship fades away around the world and through time; the faith at such times must struggle even to survive. In some places there is just a small amount of knowledge, and not much struggle or desire by the faithful to live by it. At the merest, smallest trial, whole nations may perish.
Some people are thorny ground. The thorns spring up with the good wheat, the word of God. These thorns choke out the following of the commandments. They choke out the knowledge of God. When life is hard and full of violence and treachery, thorns are plentiful. The world offers a multitude of ways to reject Christ and His message. Distraction by the world’s illusions leads His people away from the Word to establish new idols—not the ancient figures of wood and stone--but new idols of wealth, anger, hatred, lust, and power. The world is full of subtle enticements to spoil the seed of the Sower. It takes real personal strength to resist the thorns.
Some of the seed, a small amount of the seed fell on good ground. St. Luke says the harvest was a hundredfold. We have hope because of this last casting of seed. We have a promise that the sewing of the seed is not for naught. There will be a harvest for those diligent in the work of God—through prayer, good works, through thankfulness, and through asking for His forgiveness as we struggle in this world with its many temptations. God has a place for us in His mansion; we must be true to our calling—we are all a part of His mystical priesthood. We come together and are refreshed by His Word, the seed of the Sower, and our remembrance of His precious death and might resurrection. We remember that he died for us, to clean us of our sins. We must ever show our thankfulness to the great Sower and share with others the benefits of His harvest.
It is important that we remain good ground where the seed can take root and grow abundantly. We as good gardeners must regularly see that we prepare our soil, our souls and bodies, for His seed. This is hard work and cannot be abandoned to just Sunday for an hour. We must be at it daily with everything we can muster. If we find ourselves too far afield from the Lord’s commandments, we must act immediately to take the right course and direct our lives according to His commandments. Through God’s mercy we will walk together and take joy in the Lord’s magnificent harvest.
Source: The Sower
Priest Seraphim Holland Nicholas
Russian Orthodox Church of St Nicholas Dallas, Texas