In the parable from today’s Gospel we hear Jesus tell those who had come to hear Him a parable that spoke of the reception of God’s saving word to those in the world – including themselves.
As I said yesterday in my homily there is a lot to unpack in this interaction between Jesus and everyone else. But with the help of St John Chrysostom a couple of things that stand out are contained in one phrase: ‘A Sower went out to sow’.
This is amazingly good news, comforting news; a relief for the sinner that I am. The ‘Sower went out’; God came to us! Since we couldn’t come to Him, due to our fallen nature, He came to us; and why?
He ‘went out to sow’. He could have to come punish! He could have come to destroy the fallen, rebellious children who had stopped listening to Him, and who went about their own way – but He didn’t. Though He is a God of justice – He is also Love; so instead of punishment He came (and I quote St John Chrysostom) “to till and to take care of the earth: to sow the word of compassion.”
Now what happens to the seed is what the parable goes on to explain, and more unpacking is necessary; but I take very great comfort that our God is a farmer who harvests love and not a destroyer who exacts punishment. Our God is one who loves us, ‘thirsts for us’ as St Athanasius says. He has no other plan to than to have us come back to Him, be with Him, and to that end He came among us to restore the dialogue of love that was broken at the fall of Adam and Eve. Or, again, in the words of St Athanasius: ‘God became man so that man might become God’