In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ today we heard the familiar parable of the sower in the Gospel. When our Lord concludes this parable He says “he that has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 8:8) Jesus says this to indicate to those present that there is a deeper meaning to the story then what is on the surface; just seed being scattered and sprouting.
The disciples realize this and ask “What might this parable be?” (Luke 8:9) The Lord replies to this question with “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.” (Luke 8:10)
In this response our Lord Jesus Christ makes a distinction between His followers and those that just hear His words and see His works. God bestows His grace upon those that choose to follow Him. When we choose to follow Him our spiritual eyes are opened so that we may know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. As followers of Christ our God, He may at times speak to us in very direct terms. The Gospel of Saint John reminds us of this in Christ’s last conversation with His disciples before His death; “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time comes, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs.” (John 16:25)
What is the deeper meaning of this parable?
“A sower went out to sow his seed” (Luke 8:5) is the start of the parable. The sower is Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ who left His eternal existence with the Father and Holy Spirit to enter into time. The incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ, went out into His world. The world that He created out of nothingness as described in the Book of Genesis.
The field that our Lord went out to is that of human souls. He went out into the field of human souls to sow the seed of salvation. God desires our salvation as it says in Saint Paul’s first epistle to Timothy; He “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1Timothy 2:4) Additionally, God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) The seed of salvation is sown into the souls of men through Christ’s teachings.
The parable tells us that three parts of the seed is lost. The parable makes it clear that the failure of this seed is not the fault of sower or the seed but of the ground upon which it fell. We need to be willing to cooperate with God in order to receive salvation. This means that we must abandon our self will and follow Christ in order to receive salvation. We are given an example of this when our Lord calls His disciples James and John. They leave their work and their father for Christ when He says the words “Follow Me.” (Matthew 8:22)
The lost seed in the parable does not mean that God will not benefit from making His word known to those that will not receive it. We only need to look to the parable of talents to see that even in the case of the servant that made no use of the talent given to him that the Lord still received that talent back. This is further demonstrated for us when Jesus sends His disciples out to teach giving them the following instructions “And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.” (Matthew 10:13)
So my dear brothers and sisters in Christ be the good soil that receives the seed of God’s salvation so that you may have the ears to hear and the eyes to see the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.
Delivered by Fr. Milan Medakovic at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church, Youngstown Ohio on the 21st Sunday After Pentecost 2009