Sunday, November 8, 2009


Christ explains the Parable of the Seed thus: a Sower goes out to sow his seed. Some falls by the wayside and never takes root. Some falls among weeds and brambles and at first grows nicely, but is soon smothered by the weeds. A third part of the seed falls on rocky soil: it springs up fast, but soon withers away in the noonday sun. Finally, there is the seed that falls on good fertile soil and ultimately produces a good harvest. Now the seed is the Word of God, while the Sower is Christ. The soils represent the souls of vari0us types of people, depending on how receptive they are to the Word of God.

Now this, of course, is a very instructive parable, one that we should all ponder on deeply. However, there is another way to look at this parable (surely not a better way, for our Lord Himself gives the explanation) but a different perspective that might allow us to consider this parable in a new light. Let us say simply that the seed represents our own good deeds and works, while the soil represents how we employ these good deeds and works for the greatest possible good. There is a saying, "Good intentions pave the way to hell." What this means is that our desire to do good is never enough. In fact, do our actions really make this world a better place, or are we in the long run doing more harm than good?

God has given to every person alive unique gifts and talents: we should ask ourselves, are we
truly using them in a way that best serves God and our neighbor? Are we truly striving at all times to do God's will, or are we in fact following our own self-willed desires?

Today we commemorate the life our our Father among the saints John of Kronstadt. Now St. John was a human dynamo, constantly busy serving the Church and his fellow man in general. Nor did he work and strive in vain. His life and witness left an enormous impact on the Russian people in the critical period before the Revolution.

Having a heart purified by prayer and prompted every moment by the Holy Spirit, he always gave generously to those in need, not counting the cost. But realizing that simply handing out to the poor is not enough, he was the founder of the famous House of Industry, which gave to the poor needed skills and dignity. More than this, St. John personally saw to the spiritual needs of all who lived there.

Contrast this personal and spiritual approach to poverty with the charitable work (however well intended) done by impersonal institutions and government agencies. These seeds very often fall on the trodden path or stony soil, while St. John's efforts--because they were blessed by God--mostly fell on fertile soil and bore much fruit. St. John taught that our whole life must be lived in Christ and inspired by the Holy Spirit, otherwise our best efforts may be futile and of no lasting value.

Let us follow this holy saint's example and never forget that no matter how seemingly insignificant our gifts and talents, they can be of immeasurable value to the Church of God and all those in need whom we may encounter--so long as we are striving at all times to fulfill the will of God and not our own.

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