Bulletin 202 - November 4/November 17, 2002
November 4/November 17, 2002
Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost
Abba Mius of Belos said, "Obedience responds to obedience. When someone obeys God, God obeys his request.
"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. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, and 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!" Then His disciples asked Him, saying "What does this parable mean?" And He said, "To you it is 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.' "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 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. 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 awhile and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasure of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 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.
Today the Holy Orthodox Church puts before us the parable of the sower. The word of God is preached throughout the world and has been preached for centuries.
Only a percentage of people hearing the word of God take it to heart, keep it and with patience bear fruit. From the parable, one might draw the conclusion that one out of four persons hears the word of God and keeps it for the duration.
The individuals who fall into the category of hearing the word of God and keeping it make a big difference in the world. They live their lives according to the Holy Gospel. They raise their families according to the Holy Gospel. They treat others according to the Holy Gospel, They are contributing members of God's Holy Church and the community in which they live.
People who hear the word of God and keep it stay the course for the duration of their Christian lives. Some people are blessed to be nourished in the Faith from infancy and grow in Christ throughout their lives. They live in Orthodox Christian homes, perhaps homes that have been Orthodox Christian for generations, and they continue the centuries old practice of being serious Orthodox Christians.
Others may have been "lukewarm" Christians but for some reason began to take Jesus Christ seriously and resolved to live the life of Christ in the Orthodox Church for the duration of their lives.
Daily there are people coming to the Orthodox Church, as there have been for centuries, who come out of a search for the Truth. They find the Truth, they find Jesus Christ in the Orthodox Church and they remain Orthodox believers for the balance of their lives.
As Orthodox Christians, we must concern ourselves with making the Gospel available to everyone we meet. We make the Gospel available through the way we live as Orthodox Christians. We make the Gospel available through inviting people to attend the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church. We make the Gospel available through charitable works.
We never know out of the people we meet which one will hear the word of God and keep it and bring it to bear fruit with patience.
We should always bear in mind St. Paul. St.Paul was a persecutor of Christians but he was transformed by Jesus Christ and became a leading Apostle. We should bear in mind St.Moses the Ethiopian. He was a robber who became serious about God and he went on to lead a saintly life and is venerated on the Orthodox calendar every year on August 28/September 10.1
St.Mary of Egypt is remembered each year on the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent and on April 1/14 as a person who repented of sinful ways, became an ascetic and lived a saintly life.2
When Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees why he ate with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus replied: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." (Mt.9:12) Jesus came to call sinners to repentance. (Mt.9:13)
Each Orthodox Christian has the opportunity to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Each Orthodox Christian can demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ in the way he or she treats each person met in life. Orthodox Christians teach the Gospel of Christ by living the Gospel of Christ.
Sin finds its way into every life. Jesus Christ helps us to repel sin. Jesus Christ helps us to find peace and joy in Him. The Holy Gospel preserved and proclaimed and alive in the Holy Orthodox Church serves to guide, to inspire, and to nourish believers.
With God's help and mercy, serious believers hear the word of God and keep it. Let us pray that we will hear the word of God and keep it.
1+Bishop NIKOLAI(Velimirovic). The Prologue from Ochrid.
Vol.3. Birmingham, England: Lazarica Press, 1986, p.249.
2Ibid. Vol.2, p.5.
2Ibid. Vol.2, p.5.