Sunday, January 31, 2016

The seed of Sexagesima

Sermon preached at Our Lady of Walsingham and St Francis on Sexagesima

What are you? Rocky ground? The wayside? The thorns? The good soil? Or are we the seed that the Sower sows? Sometimes, just listening to the parable of the sower confuses us because we don't quite know where we fit in. It's a difficult parable to understand and it appears that Our Lord intends it to be so. After all, He says to His disciples:
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.
Why should Our Lord withhold the meaning from us?

Remember that He also tells us "seek and ye shall find". Our desire for God should lead us to ask further. Our Lord is giving His hearers an opportunity to do so.

When it comes to the explanation, Our Lord implies that we are the soil in which the seed of the word of God can grow. But then this gives us a problem that it does not appear that we can choose whether we can bear the fruit of the word of God. The soil can't choose whether the birds eat the seed. The soil can't choose whether it has rocks or thorns. If this is true then it means that there are some people who are not meant to bear the word of God.

This is not true. St Gregory Nazianzus says:
When you hear this you must not entertain the notion of different natures, as certain heretics do, who think that some men indeed are of a perishing nature, others of a saving nature, but that some are so constituted that their will leads them to better or worse. But add to the words, To you it is given, if willing and truly worthy.
Think about it. Our Lord is speaking to many people, some of whom will hear his message and say to themselves, "I don't want to be bad soil. I want to be good soil. From now on, I want to be free of the Devil, of shallow faith and of the cares of this life." Our Lord paints a picture of His challenge of what believing in Him takes.

As God looks at our lives from outside of Time, He sees us in our entirety, what we were, what we are, and what we shall become. We can become rocky ground by keeping a shallow faith. We can become the wayside and allow the Devil to take the word of God from us. We can allow thorns to grow and choke our faith with worldly cares. If that's what we do, then we become what we do.

As Lent approaches, let each one of us consider what soil we are. Let us spend our Lent rejecting the lies of the Devil, working at deepening our faith through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and let us reject the pull of this world on our relationship with God. Then we shall grow His fruit for the world and find the Word dwelling in us.

No comments: