In the Gospel we have a rare opportunity to hear Christ directly explain to us a parable He had offered. In the Parable of the Sower, He explains:
“The seed is the Word of God….”
“The wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts…
“The rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root…”
“Thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life…”
“The good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart…”
What goes unsaid in the Gospel lesson is that, all of these explanations refer to all of us at some point during our life. Some of us may even go back and forth between them during certain seasons of our life. We can all remember certain times in our lives when we received the word of God with great fervor, only to forget about Church and our spiritual journey while we were distracted by ‘life’ and the many responsibilities we carry. We can all remember certain times in our lives when we may have even totally ignored our spiritual journey.
The Gospel isn’t so much a condemnation of our past, but a guide to our future. When a farmer ignores a field, it begins to become taken over by weeds and other unprofitable things. The longer the farmer ignores the field, the worse the condition becomes, and the harder it is to return the field to a healthy production. The same is true for our souls. If we ignore our souls, the various distractions of life will eventually run over our lives and we will produce no good fruit in our lives.
If we wish to restore our soul, or even to avoid our soul being run over by the distractions in the future, it will require work, just as it does for a farmer. It will require constant attention and vigilance to weed out any distractions the moment they appear. The sooner a weed is pulled, the less damage it can do to the soul.
Fortunately for us, we have a tools shed just like the farmer. Our tools aren’t axes and spades, but prayer and fasting, reading the Holy Scriptures and Holy Fathers and Mothers for guidance, taking care of the poor, being good stewards of God’s Church, loving each other. The most effective tool we have is God Himself, and His willingness to share Holy Communion - His Precious Body and Blood - with us. If we are committed to work, then we will have a better chance to maintain rich and fertile souls.