July 24, 2019
(St. Sharbel Makhluf, Monk, Priest and Hermit)
Jesus 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.” Mt_13:1-9
The people of the first-century in Palestine were familiar with the practice of sowing their seed before the field was ever plowed. So the picture Jesus painted of the variety of places that a farmer’s seed would fall, would have been common knowledge to them, as would all of those obstacles to its growth: the stamped-down path, the hungry birds, the rocks, the sun and the thorns. So, unless they were listening very closely, the people might have just thought that there was really – nothing new, nothing very exciting about that story – (you know – just another boring homily!).
We, on the other hand, without that farming background, and yet knowing that the source of the story was Jesus, after we got over the nonsense of wasting all of that good seed, we’d listen, expecting some kind of deep moral or theological point to it all; because we would know that Jesus always had some deeper, hidden meaning to everything He said or did.
And that level of listening was exactly the point of Jesus’ Parable of the Sower.
Remember, Jesus said, that unless we have the Faith of a Child, we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And being child-like, means cleaning out all of our preconceived notions of knowing it all, or, of having heard it all before. It means looking and listening, and feeling, and smelling everything as if it were – our very first time.
It’s like plowing the fields of our hearts and our minds so that something gloriously and abundantly NEW can grow, something that was already sown there, but was just waiting for some fertile ground.
And do you know what will happen if we do that?
There will still be a path, but it will be there to guide our way, instead of hindering our growth.
And the birds will sing in their myriad of melodies, and fly about in their blues and reds, in their yellows and blacks. And we’ll see and hear them as a JOY instead of a threat.
And the rocks themselves, will shout out that they too are Children of Abraham, as they decorate our pathways and support our homes.
And the sun will warm us when we’re cold, and offer us breathtaking sunrises and sunsets by day, while it illuminates our brilliant and ever-changing Moon by night.
And the thorn bushes will be there to protect our homes and us, and they’ll remind us – of the very ONE who fed us in the desert of Sinai and here, on the majestic altar of His Love.
You see, brothers and sisters, it’s all in how we look at life.
It’s all in how we experience THIS Kingdom of His, and ours, with the ears of a bat, and the eyes and faith of a child.
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