Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Met. Ephrem on the Parable of the Sower

This sermon was given in the Monastery of Our Lady in Bkeftine on Sunday, October 16, 2011. The Arabic original can be found here.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.

You heard, beloved, this parable that is known as the Parable of the Sower. The Lord wants to speak to man by pointing to what is in nature, as man is usually taken with what is material and does not often understand deep spiritual truth and so this is why the Lord takes the parable from agriculture.

This farmer takes his seeds and casts them-- some fall on the road and the birds come and eat them, some fall on stone where there is no soil and moisture so they wither, some fall on thorns which grow and choke them. The disciples come and ask him, "What is the meaning of this parable?" He says to his disciples, "It has been given to you to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven." Before explaining the parable to them, he said, "You are the diciples, meaning the faithful, you will understand the parable and what is behind this parable is the secrets of thing kingdom." What does "the secrets of the kingdom" mean? It means that which God intends by His divine grace. Each one of us reads the Gospel but few of us understand it. What is required of man for him to understand God's words? Man, in his weakness and materiality is not able to understand everything that God says. He is in need of God's grace, of God's power, in order to be able to understand. We come to church not understanding everything that is said and chanted, unless we are enlightened. If we are faithful, spiritual people, if we are purified, pure of heart, and repentant, then we understand everything.

Then he begins to explain the parable to them, saying, "The ones that fall on the road are those who hear the Word of God and go and do not care about it." How many people hear the Gospel and read it and it does not mean anything to them! The ones that fall upon stone they are those that hear the Word of God but who have no root and no soil to bear them, and so the demons come and immediately snatch them away. The ones in the thorns, they are people taken with the cares of this life, the thorns and pleasures of this life. They have many cares and occupations which choke the Word of God, as the Gospel says; such a person can no longer hear God's Word. As for those who are like good earth, like good soil, they are the ones who hear God's Word and keep it, bearing fruit in patience. They hear like the Virgin who, "heard the word of God, kept it, and acted upon it." Such are those who are good, productive soil, bearing fruit in patience. Why did he say, "bearing fruit in patience"? Because even one who understands the Word of God must always persist and strive in order to be able to keep it and live it. We ask God to give us this grace so that we will understand His Gospel and live it, amen.

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