The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 8:5-15
“The seed is the word of God.” These are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples and apostles as He begins to explain the meaning of His parable, the parable of the sower, to them. In this parable we are given access to the ways of the human heart. Our Lord tells us that there are 4 different responses to hearing the word of God. Only 1 of the 4 responses bears fruit or brings us to a proper relationship with God. Only one response brings us to salvation. Only 1 out of 4 responses leads to eternal life. It is with good reason that Our Lord reminds us of the difficulty of the path when He says “narrow is the way that leads to eternal life, and there are few who find it.”
We have four possible responses to the Lord’s word. We can ignore it completely. We can accept it with enthusiasm that is brief and short lived. We can accept it and turn away later as our cares and worries and responsibilities begin to pile up all around us. Finally, we can accept His word, and this word, like a seed can take root and blossom and bear good fruit. This is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. St. Paul names these fruits when he writes “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”(Gal 5:22-23).
Our focus today is not going to be on the soil or even on our response. Our focus today is on the seed. The Lord tells us that the seed in the parable is in fact the word of God. It forces us to ask the question “Where is the seed for the soil of my heart?” Where is the seed? Before we can begin to think about our response and the condition of the soil, we must think about whether or not seeds are present. If a farmer is brought to a field and looks at the field and sees nothing but dirt he may come up with some theories as to why crops have not grown in that location. He may think the crops did not get enough rain, or perhaps they received too much sun. But there is always the possibility that there was simply a lack of seed in that particular place.
How does this apply to us? In the world of agriculture it is possible to have a bad batch of seeds. Seeds that don’t produce meaningful vegetation or growth. The word of God is not like that however. The word of God is always good seed. The question is how do we make sure that we are receiving the seed of the word of God? If we think about it we are receiving many kinds of seeds that find their way into our hearts and minds and begin to take root there. We have the seeds of idolatry and lust and pride and anger. We have the seeds of competing world-views and ideologies. We receive all of these seeds through Facebook and CNN and Fox news and through all of the television and media that we consume. When we get on Facebook, especially during this poisonous political cycle, we are asking to receive the seeds of poisonous plants while hoping that the plants will take root and bear good fruit….it is impossible.
All media and literature and music and art are types of seed. They all have an impact on our minds and hearts. But they are not necessarily seeds that can produce good fruit. Our heart is the vessel that will hold God, are we guarding it? Is it a holy place reserved for God and God alone? Bad seed can never produce good fruit, to produce good fruit we need good seed. Only the word of God is truly good seed. When we speak of the word of God we are speaking of the Holy Scriptures and we could also be speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. To receive the seed we need to have multiple points of contact with the Holy Scriptures and with the Lord Jesus Himself. The more seed we receive, the better the the chances that some of the seed will take root and grow strong and become trees that overflow with wonderful, holy fruit.
I’ve challenged you all to read the Bible everyday even for only 5 minutes. We’ve talked about the daily readings. But the truth is that if you want a chance to really grow in the faith and bear good fruit it will take more than 5 minutes of daily reading. We need to prioritize the word of God in our lives and if we are negligent, we will have no excuses before God. He will say to us “Why didn’t you put My word before the word of fallen men?” “Why didn’t you put My word before your movies and shows?” “Why didn’t you put My word before your meaningless literature or art or games?” We call God the dreadful judge and my brothers and sisters, we will be filled with dread if we have ignored His word.
One of the saints called the word of God a letter of love from God to each of us. When you receive a letter from a friend or a dear loved one you hurry to open it and to absorb it and also to reply and continue the conversation. Do we feel this way about the Bible that sits on our nightstand or bookshelf? Do we hunger and thirst to hear what God has to say to us each and everyday? Do we treat God like we treat a friend or dear loved one? Ultimately it is not about God needing our attention, it is about man needing God’s attention and instruction.” When our Lord was being tempted after fasting for forty days Satan tempted Him to make stones into bread to relieve His hunger. The Lord responded “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” He was hungry to an extreme and yet His true hunger was for the word of His Father. The Lord’s earthly life was rich with good and life giving fruit. It shouldn’t surprise us because He had eagerly received the seed through study and contemplation of God’s word.
Likewise, God wants us to bear fruit. He wants us to be an oasis in the midst of this society which is like a barren desert. He wants the hungry and thirsty to flock to us and be nourished and fed. Before we become an oasis or a garden we have to ask “Where is the seed?” May God give us the determination and perseverance to search for the life giving seed of His word. Glory be to God forever, AMEN.