Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The theme for our text for Sexagesima is the mission of the church. Listen to another parable of the Lord: "The sower went out to sow his seed."
The figure of the sower was well known to the people at that time. But, look at something surprising in this story. The sower does not take into account where the seed falls.
"And when he sowed it, a part fell by the way, and it was trodden down; and the birds of the sky ate it. And another part fell on stones; and born, it dried up, because it had no moisture. And another part fell among thorns; and the thorns grew along with it, they choked it. And another part fell into good ground, and was born, and bore fruit a hundredfold. "
Not all parts of the field were good for the harvest. However, the mission of the sower was to sow the whole field. And our Lord was clear: "The seed is the Word of God."
The Word of God is the gospel. First, there is the Law, the will of God for all to live as His children. But, no one has perfectly fulfilled the Law of God, because we are sinners and, therefore, we deserve the punishment of eternal death. But gospel means good news and the good news for everyone is Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law, suffered and died in our places, and by His resurrection we have the promise of eternal life. Our Lord gave His church the mission of proclaiming the gospel everywhere.
In a sense, this parable explains why the harvest is not the same everywhere. When we sow the Word in human hearts, it should bear fruit in the love shown to God and our neighbor.
"A part fell by the road, and it was trodden down; and the birds of the air ate it. " We believe, as the Lord said to the prophet Isaiah, that His Word never leaves his mouth and returns empty The Holy Spirit is active in preaching and created faith in the sacrament of baptism. we always have agency in this sense, to reject the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. So some people hear the Word, but immediately the devil deceives them. There is a lot of false doctrine, many false teachers in this world who preach what the people who want to hear, and those who listen to false teachers forget the pure Word and lose faith.
"And another part fell on the stone, and born, it withered, because it had no moisture." The Lord explains what happens in this case in this way: "And those on the rocks, are those who, having heard, receive the word with joy, but these have no roots, which for a time believe, but at the time of trial they depart. " The missing moisture is to receive regular absolution and Holy Communion.
"And that which fell among the thorns, these are they that hear: but when they go forth, they are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bear no fruit." They are too concerned with the things of this world to bear the fruits of faith.
"But as on good earth, these are they who with a good and upright heart keep the word they heard, and bear fruit with patience." For us, what is important to bear good fruit is patience and perseverance in the Word and the sacraments.
During the course of our lives, we sometimes show the characteristics of the good land, but sometimes the characteristics of the others. However, the Word and the Spirit are always present in our lives.
Because the mission of the church is to work in all parts of the world. Our Lord Jesus Christ sent his apostles to all parts of this world.
What does St. Paul say in our epistle (2 Corinthians 11: 19-12: 9)? "Of the Jews five times I received forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once stoned; three times I suffered shipwreck; One night and one day I was in the depths; in days many times; dangers of rivers, dangers of thieves, dangers of those of my nation, dangers among the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the desert, dangers in the sea, dangers among false brethren; in work and fatigue, in many vigils, in hunger and thirst, in many fasts, in cold and in nakedness. Besides this, what overwhelms me every day, but the burden of all the churches. Who is sick, and I am not sick? Who is made to fall, and I do not get angry? "
Paul suffered everything because of his calling as an apostle. Today, the church has the responsibility to call and send pastors not only to the places where life is comfortable and the harvest is good.
Now we live in a time of crisis in Venezuela. It is not comfortable for anyone; all suffer. But, the church has the mission to proclaim the Word and care for the sheep of God in Venezuela.
Our reading of the Old Testament (Amos 8: 11-12) reads: "Behold, the days will come, says the Lord Jehovah, in which I will send hunger to the earth, not hunger for bread, nor thirst for water, but to hear the Word of Jehovah.” It is harder to endure hunger for bread or thirst for water when we have true hope in our hearts. Without hope, the danger is to despair and decide that there is no purpose in our lives.
In these past days, there was a moment in which there was hope of solving the problems in the country, but now it seems that we should wait for a while. We can do this with the true hope of the promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Let's pray for Venezuela in the assurance of God's promise to hear our prayers. Let's keep the services of worship. The hour is dark, but the sun always comes to dispel the darkness. And our sun is Christ Jesus. Therefore, we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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