October 17 Gospel Reading

Luke 8:5-15

5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. 8 But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” 9 Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?” 10 And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’ 11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

Chrysostom in his Homily 44 on Matthew said:

“…as the sower makes no distinction in the land submitted to him, but simply and indifferently casts his seed; so He Himself too makes no distinction of rich and poor, of wise and unwise, of slothful or diligent, of brave or cowardly…”

“…when you hear, ‘The sower went forth to sow,’ think it not a needless repetition. For the sower frequently goes forth for some other act also, either to plough, or to cut out the evil herbs, or to pluck up thorns, or to attend to some such matter; but He went forth to sow.”

“…does He not say, ‘Some the careless received, and lost it; some the rich, and choked it, and some the superficial, and betrayed it? It is not His will to rebuke them severely, lest He should cast them into despair, but He leaves the reproof to the conscience of His hearers…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.”

“…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…there is such a thing as the rock changing, and becoming rich land; and the wayside no longer being 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.”

“…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.”

“…let us by zeal and continual remembrance cover up the things that are told us. For though the devil do catch them away, yet it rests with us, whether they be caught away; though the plants wither, yet it is not from the heat that this takes place (for He did not say, because of the heat it withered, but ‘because it had no root’); although His sayings are choked, it is not because of the thorns, but of them who suffer them to spring up, For there is a way, if you will, to check this evil growth, and to make the right use of our wealth…He said not, ‘the world,’ but ‘the care of the world;’ nor ‘riches’ but ‘the deceitfulness of riches.'”

“Let us not then blame the things, but the corrupt mind. For it is possible to be rich and not to be deceived; and to be in this world, and not to be choked with its cares. For indeed riches have two contrary disadvantages; one, care, wearing us out, and bringing a darkness over us; the other, luxury, making us effeminate.”

“…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…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…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…”

I could go on and on… read this Homily 44 in its entirety…

Origen in his Commentary on John Book I said:

The Icon Jesus Christ In the Crown of Thorns, Sofrino; Russian Orthodox Church

“There are those who still have thorns with which they crown and dishonor Jesus, those, namely, who are choked by the cares, and riches, and pleasures of life, and though they have received the word of God, do not bring it to perfection.”

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