Friday, October 22, 2010

Met. Ephrem on the Parable of the Sower

This sermon was given in the village of Batroumine on October 17, 2010. The Arabic original can be found here.

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

Beloved, you have heard the parable about the sower. The Lord Jesus took this parable from natural, agricultural life. He took it as a means to achieve his goal and to teach the people how to live.

The parable talks about the seed that fell on the road, that fell on the rock, that fell among the thorns, and that fell on good soil. This is an image of people in their differences and different situations. First off, it talks about the seed that fell on the road and is trampled by all, then the seed that fell on the rock, then the seed that fell among the thorns. Finally, it talks about the seed that fell on good and well-tended soil, ready for grain to sprout from it in the right way.

In the parable, what does the rock represent? It represents those people, and perhaps we are among them, whose hearts are hard. How can one whose heart is like rock bear fruit? There is no moisture in it, as the Gospel says, and no softness. It has no feeling and is insensitive to others. It only thinks of itself and its own good. This is the stone. Stony souls cannot bear fruit, even if they hear the words of God! As for, “among the thorns” and most thorns are in this age and this material world, means the cares of life. Man, in general, is a material man and is overtaken by many cares. Naturally, it is legitimate for someone to care about his livelihood, but it is unacceptable for someone to go overboard in comfortable living and many useless concerns—parties, pleasures, clothes, food, banquets, all of which are useless while there are poor people who cannot live with their families and who cannot educate their children in schools and universities. How can someone be distracted by these thorns of the world? If someone is worldly, he cannot bear fruit, he cannot give something good in this world!

As for “the good soil”, this is the person who hears the word of God and follows it. The opposite of this is the person who hears the words of people—he cannot bear fruit. And what fruit does the good person bear? He bears fruit in virtues. He bears fruit in love. Our God is a God of love. If a person does not have love, he is not a believer. He also bears fruit in patience. He bears fruit in every good virtue.

For this reason we come here to the Church and we hear the word of God. We have no other purpose. Coming to the Church is not a formality and only an obligation. We hear the word of God in order to learn how to live and in order to bear witness in our lives, in our families, in our country, and in the whole world.

How wonderful it would be if we were people whose heart was not hard and stony, who did not care for the things of this life, who were not strongly attached to the things of this life because we will leave them behind and each one of us will be judged according to his works. How wonderful it would be if we had a heart of flesh, as the prophets say, a heart that feels with others. This is God’s teaching. This is the Christian teaching, the teaching of the believing person. In this way we bear fruit, we give something to others and then the Lord blesses us and blesses our families and blesses our nation and our village and everything that pertains to us. Amen.

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