“Behold, a sower went forth to sow. And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside; and the fowls came and devoured them up. Some fell upon stony places where they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth. And when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell into good ground and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold”
Jesus gave an explanation for this parable, immediately after he had uttered it. Concerning the seeds that fell by the wayside, the clarification is the following:
“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.”
The expression “sown in the heart” shows the wise person how the Word, which bears the explanations of the laws of Creation, must be assimilated. As stated before, heart has the same sense of the profound itself, the utmost core of the human being. The Word nurtures the spirit, not the body. Only the spirit can assimilate the Word and comprehend it in full. The Word cannot fructify in the arid soil of the human intellect's rationalization, but solely in the spirit, in the heart. Concerning the generally deplorable state of people's hearts, Jesus had warned just a bit before:
“For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn – and I would heal them”
Jesus shows in this parable how human beings should assimilate the Word he brought. Understanding the Word with the heart means complete assimilation, which is only possible when the spirit is moving, in obedience to the law of Movement.
The term evil has to be understood as the wrong principle, inserted in the world of matter by Lucifer to divert those who where not sufficiently strong in themselves. This is the same as the "temptation principle". Because of this Peter warned: “Discipline yourselves; keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour” (1Peter 5:8). The Hebraic word for temptation is “nasah”, also meaning submit to a test or examine indicating a wrong precept, incompatible with the Love and kindness of the Omnipotent.
Therefore the warning from Jesus: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41). This exhortation does not mean that if someone prays one will not be tempted, instead one will not fall under the power of temptation. (1) Each person here in gross matter is protected in such a way that allowing himself or herself to be misled by the weaker force of temptation is a shame. Paul said to the Corinthians exactly this: “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” (1Co 10:13).
The resistance against temptation should not be a miraculous exception among human beings but a general rule for a happy end.
“Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
The Master's exhortation to maintain maximum spiritual vigilance, to avoid falling in temptation, wasn't directed only to the disciples but to all men. “And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake” (Mark 13:37). And “praying” must be the legitimate fruit of spiritual intuition. Not merely any mechanical recitation, full of grudge: “Do not grow weary when you pray” (Sirach 7:10). There is no value in praying without heart. Without the continuous commitment to comply with the Law of God no one can pray genuinely, for such conceals hypocrisy which is condemned: “When one will not listen to the law, even one's prayers are an abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9). This kind of prayer cannot go to any luminous region, cannot surpass even the roof of the hypocrite prayer's shelter. Only the one that applies the Word in deeds in all aspects of his or her life, can maintain spiritual vigilance and pray with an open soul. This is the only way to maintain protection against the temptations of the darkness and be free from evil.
The Word given by the Son of God, who was himself incarnated, protects and guards the one who seeks to sin no more, because that one is reborn and starts to live according to the sense of this Word. This has the same meaning as “born from above” (John 3:3) or “born of God”, in the first Letter of John:
“We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them. We know that we are God's children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one.”
The seeds fell by the wayside signifies the Word not inserted as deeds into one's life. Therefore assimilation can not take place and will hamper the incorporation of the right behavior into each one. The Word is finally lost into pitfalls placed by Lucifer's hordes. Let's see the explanation of Jesus for the seed that fell in the rocky soil:
“As for what was sown on the rocky ground, this is the one who hear the Word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, that person immediately falls away.”
(Matt 13:20, 21)
Those are vacillating enthusiasts, like straw fire. They recognize the value of the Word, as they received it with joy, but because of their superficiality there is not anchorage inside them, it is not rooted into their spirits. These are the seeds that sprout fast but get withered soon. Like the first ones mentioned they do not effectively practice the Word in their lives, because this demands perseverance and collide inevitably with habits and concepts predominant throughout the world – “when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.”
The explanation given by Jesus for the seeds fallen among thorns is the following
“As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.”
The Word is directed to the spirit. It is a guide for the entire human existence, not just for the few years of the short existence of man on earth. All those ones that place the intellect above the spirit, rationalization above intuition – gets as a natural consequence – pleasures and material life above spiritual life, the ephemeral above the most valuable.
Jesus does not condemn those who possess wealth, but condemns those who are controlled by their wealth. For the feeble in spirit, the comfort of material wealth can easily choke the Word received as if it where thorns.
To avoid this situation Jesus counseled the rich young man to give away all his wealth and follow him. (See Luke 18:18-23). That advice referred just to that young man, and others like him, who let themselves, become overwhelmed by their wealth thus preventing their spiritual development. This is absolutely not a general rule for all humankind. For those who let themselves be absorbed by the richness of this world, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle” (2) (Matt19:24) than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God, because “you cannot serve God and the wealth” (Matthew 6:24).
Jesus gives the following explanation for the last lot of seeds, the fourth, which fell over good soil:
“But for what was sown in good soil, this is the one who hears the Word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
We can see that only a quarter of all listeners comprehend and let the Word bear fruits in them. Jesus did not mention the ones who did not want to hear the Word from God. These constitute the immense majority of human beings.
Hear and understand the Word means in reality to assimilate the Word in the inner self and to make it into deeds. The lives of those who behave in such a manner become a blessing for the Creation in which they live. Through the correct way of living, capacities are awakened, becoming an overabundant reciprocal gift for the entire world. In some cases more (a hundred or sixty per one), in others less (thirty per one), depending on each one's level of spiritual development, but all in absolute conformity with the law of continuous equilibrium: giving and receiving. The corresponding passage in Luke is slightly different, but the characteristic of good seeds – giving fruits by perseverance – remains:
“But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the Word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.”
Unfortunately the good soil – purified souls questing for Light – so necessary for the plantation and full fructification of the Word, is increasingly scarce throughout the world. We can see nowadays just minor islands with good soil here and there, surrounded by a vast immensity of rocky soil and thick vegetation of thorns…
The possibility given to human beings to produce abundance of good fruits by the right development and persistent application of their capacities, is equally pictured in the parable of the Talents that we will see further ahead.
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