June 28 Gospel Reading

Matthew 13:10-23

[10] And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou
unto them in parables?[11] He answered and said unto them,
Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of
heaven, but to them it is not given.[12] For whosoever hath,
to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever
hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.[13]
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and
hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.[14] And
in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye
shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall
not perceive:[15] For this people's heart is waxed gross,
and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed;
lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their
ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted,
and I should heal them.[16] But blessed are your eyes, for
they see: and your ears, for they hear.[17] For verily I say
unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those
things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things
which ye hear, and have not heard them.

[18] Hear ye therefore
the parable of the sower.[19] When any one heareth the word
of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one,
and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which
received seed by the way side.[20] But he that received the
seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon
with joy receiveth it;[21] Yet hath he not root in himself,
but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth
because of the word, by and by he is offended.[22] He also
that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the
care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word,
and he becometh unfruitful.[23] But he that received seed
into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it;
which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some
sixty, some thirty.

St.John Chrysostom in Homily 44 said regarding Jesus' parable…

"…this parable He speaks, as anointing His disciples, and to
teach them, that even though the lost be more than such as receive the
word yet they are not to despond. For this was the ease even with their
Lord, and He who fully foreknew that these things
should be, did not desist from sowing."


"And how can it be reasonable, says one, to sow among the thorns, on
the rock, on the wayside? With regard to the seeds and the earth it
cannot be reasonable; but in the case of men's souls and their
instructions, it has its praise, and that abundantly. For the husbandman
indeed would reasonably be blamed for doing this; it being impossible
for the rock to become earth, or the wayside not to be a wayside, or the
thorns, thorns; but in the things that have reason
it is not so. There is such a thing as the rock changing, and becoming
rich land; and the wayside being no longer trampled
on, nor lying open to all that pass
by, but that it may be a fertile field; and the thorns may be destroyed,
and the seed enjoy full security. For had it been impossible, this Sower
would not have sown. And if the change did not take place in all, this
is no fault of the Sower, but of them who are
unwilling to be changed: He having done His part: and if they betrayed
what they received of Him, He is blameless, the exhibitor
of such love to man."

"But do thou mark this, I pray you; that the way of destruction is not
one only, but there are differing ones, and wide apart from one
another. For they that are like the wayside are the coarse-minded,
and indifferent, and careless;
but those on the rock such as fail from weakness only."

"Hearing therefore these things, let us fortify ourselves on all
sides
, regarding His instructions, and striking our roots deep, and
cleansing ourselves from all worldly things. But if we do the one,
neglecting the other, we shall be nothing bettered; for though we perish
not in one way, yet shall we in some other. For what signifies
our not being ruined by riches, if we are by
indolence: or not by indolence, if we are by softness. For so the
husbandman, whether this way or that way he lose his crop, equally
bewails himself. Let us not then soothe ourselves upon our not perishing
in all these ways, but let it be our grief, in whichever way we are
perishing…"

"And let us burn up the thorns, for they choke the word. And this is known to those
rich men, who not for these
matters alone, but for others also prove
unprofitable. For having become slaves and captives
of their pleasures, they are useless even for civil affairs, and if for
them, much more for those of Heaven. Yea, and
in two ways hereby our thoughts are corrupted; both by the luxury, and
by the anxiety too. For either of these by itself were enough to
overwhelm the bark; but when even both concur, imagine how high
the billow swells."

Clement of Alexandria wrote in The Stromata

And here we are aided by the parable of the
sower, which the Lord interpreted. For the
husbandman of the soil which is among men is one; He who
from the beginning, from the foundation of the world, sowed nutritious
seeds; He who in each age rained down the Lord, the
Word. But the times and places which received [such
gifts], created the differences
which exist. Further, the husbandman sows not only
wheat (of which there are many varieties), but also other seeds—
barley, and beans, and peas, and vetches, and
vegetable and flower seeds. And to the same husbandry belongs both
planting and the operations necessary in the
nurseries, and gardens, and orchards, and the
planning and rearing of all sorts of trees.
In like manner, not only the care of sheep, but the care of herds,
and breeding of horses, and dogs, and bee-craft, all arts, and to speak
comprehensively, the care of flocks and the rearing of animals,
differ from each other more or less, but are all useful for life.

St. Cyril of Alexandria writes in his Sermon on the Parable of the Sower…

"Let us take into consideration why the seed on the wayside was snatched away. A wayside is almost always hard and unbroken, because it is trodden down by the feet of all those who pass that way, and seed is never sown there. No sacred or divine word, therefore, will be able to enter those who have minds that are hard and unyielding, for it is by the aid of such words that the joyful fruits of virtue can grow. Men of this kind are high-ways that are trodden by unclean spirits and by Satan himself, and they will never be producers of holy fruit because their hearts are sterile and unfaithful."

"Then there are others who carry the faith within them indifferently, a faith that is simply a matter of words. They have a religion that is without roots, for when they enter the church they are happy to see so many assembled and they readily take part in the sacred mysteries. But they do not do this out of seriousness of purpose, rather from a kind of lightheartedness. And when this kind of person goes out of the church he immediately forgets the holy teachings he has heard there…As soon as persecution arises, he will get ready to take flight…'Break up fresh ground for yourselves, and do not sow among thorns' says Jeremiah (4:3). Therefore, so that the divine seed may germinate in us, let us first drive away from our minds all worldly cares…They are rich and fruitful soil yielding fruit a hundredfold; good and beautiful are the souls who take deeply into themselves the seeds of the Word, and keep them and tend them with care."

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