From Father Gary
October brings with it some very exciting events. Our kids are back in school, college football is back in full swing and hopefully a local team enters the World Series. The harvest is set and the lots are filled with pumpkins. Every good farmer knows that in order to harvest a crop you must first till the soil and prepare the earth. The same holds true for us Christians– we too are called to produce fruits of virtue.
Christ reminds us of this in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-9). The sower tossed seeds on a path, rocky ground, then some seeds fell in the thorns, and finally some were placed in the good soil. Consider the outcome of each of the settings the seeds rested. Those on the path were eaten by birds, those on the rocky ground sprang up, could not take root and fell, the seeds in the thorns were choked, only the seeds that fell on the good soil brought forth grain, some even one hundred fold!
The seeds in this parable are likened to the teachings we receive from Holy Scripture, writings of the Saints, and instruction from our spiritual leaders. For the seed to take effect the soil must be prepared to accept it. The setting for the seed depends on how we choose to maintain the soil, how we choose to live our lives. What do we want to do with these kernels of wisdom given to us from God?
If we leave them out in the open, giving no sincerity to its value (the road), the birds will take them away. If we deposit them on rocky ground ( a hard heart, full of pride) we do not give it the opportunity to settle, thus it falls away, and the world is bursting with thorns (anxieties and worries) waiting to choke it from us. We are called to continually maintain our soil of Faith.
For the seed of Faith to cultivate in our hearts we need to practice and maintain the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, long-suffering, mildness, fidelity, modesty, continence, and chastity. Our hearts need to be clear of negativity to create room for the good seed. A hardened heart leaves no room for the seed to take root. Consistent and daily practice of tilling the fields (exercising our Faith) allow the seed to settle and blossom in our soul. Here are some very practical ways of make room for the sower (Jesus Christ) in our lives.
First, we must read the Word of God daily. Find time in your day to read scripture and to reflect up-on it. You can do this from your computer in your home or office by visiting our Church’s website (www.saintdem.org) and opening the “Online Chapel.” If you do not have email, contact our church office for a list of the daily readings.
Second, be positive and friendly. Not only should we look strangers in the eye and say “hello,” but we should greet each other with love and sincerity- showing genuine kindness.
Third, forgive. Find it in your heart to forgive, or seek forgiveness from someone you may have hurt. Our ego and pride keeps us from doing so. The buildup of resentment makes it difficult for the Word (seed) to yield its fruit. Forgiveness should be something that we all make an effort to offer and request.
Fourth, offer daily prayers. If you have a smart phone you can access several daily prayers on our Parish’s app. Again, visit our website and download the St. Demetrios App. Daily prayer and communication with God serves as an opportunity to lovingly connect with God.
Lastly, get involved. The Church needs you now more than ever. With the Agape Building’s completion, we have plenty of positions and tasks that have been identified. Whatever your talents are can be put to use so that our community can continue to flourish.
Please, find ways to volunteer at Saint Demetrios. What are your talents? Can you sing? Join the choir. Can you dance? Then teach Greek Dance. Are you willing to help others along in their faith walk/journey? Then educate our youth in Sunday School. You can use your abilities to help plant the seed of Christ in others.
Christ ends the parable of the sower by exclaiming, “Let anyone who hears, hear!” This is our opportunity to till the soil, cultivate our souls, become shining examples and imitators of Christ! Yes, October is a great month! There are lots of things to enjoy and look forward to, but nothing will bring us more peace and joy, than that which comes from our Lord Jesus Christ!
Blessings and peace to you now and always,