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For Sexagesima: John Chrysostom on the Parable of the Sower

February 4, 2013

Again quoting John Chrysostom from Faith and Life, here is an excerpt on the Parable of the Sower:

Whence was it, tell me, that the greater part of the seed was lost? Not on account of the Sower, but of the soil which received it, that is, of the soul which did not hear. This happened not only to the seed, but to the draw-net, which also brought in much that was unprofitable. Now He utters this parable by way of training and instructing His disciples not to despair, although those that perish should be the majority of those that receive their word. For this befell the Master also; and He, while He thoroughly foresaw that it would happen, desisted not from sowing. But how, it will be asked, was it reasonable to sow on thorns, on the rock, on the way-side?  A husbandman would be rightly blamed for doing so; for it is impossible that the rock should become soil, or the way-side and thorns be other than they are; but in the case of reasonable beings this is not so, for it is possible for the rock to be changed and become rich soil, and the way-side to be no longer trodden down nor left open to all passers-by, but to be a fruitful field, and the thorns to disappear, and the seed to enjoy full security. For had this not been possible, He would not have sown thus. But if this change did not take place in all cases, this was not by reason of the Sower, but of those who did not wish to be changed. For He has done His part; and if they cast away what came from Him, that is no fault of His who exhibited such great benignity.

–St. Chrysostom, Hom. xliv. on St. Matthew.

Certainly, let us not despair if we do not see an immediate harvest, for it is indeed possible that the Spirit will reap a harvest using our labors later – for He is able to make rich soil out of the stoniest of hearts.

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