Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Themes: Bread of Life, The Parable of the Sower/Four Soils, 1st Sunday After Pentecost
Volume 7 No. 420 June 9, 2017
The Pentecost is over. The Holy Spirit ('the comforter') has arrived as promised by Jesus to his disciples before His ascension. The 'church planting time' has begun. The apostles are busy spreading the message of the New Kingdom.

This Sunday, the main Gospel reading is John 6:26-35. It is the familiar "I am the Bread of Life" of Jesus. The Bread of Life is the bread we receive during Eucharist - the transformation of the bread into the mystical 'Body of Christ' and the wine into the 'Blood of Christ' is performed by the Holy Spirit. Unlike the other "I am Statements" of Jesus, this is repeated several times, indicating the importance of it.

Since the "I am the Bread of Life" is covered in depth in previous issues of Malankara World Journal, we will concentrate on the alternate gospel reading from the lectionary, viz., Luke 8:4-15. It is the familiar 'Parable of the Sower', also known as 'The Parable of the Four Soils'. Jesus is forewarning the disciples that when they go to evangelical missions, their message will only reach a very small percentage of people who hear the message. As I was working on my garden this week, removing all the weeds, loosening the soil and amend the clay soil we have that will harden like firebrick during the summer months choking the plants to death with looser soil, I was thinking of this Parable of Jesus. Left untended, the weeds will overtake the garden. All the fertilizers meant for the plants will be readily taken up by the weeds. Isn't that what happens to followers of Jesus too? We easily become prey to Satan and attracted by the 'easy life'. Worldwide, we have the epidemic of "drug abuse/overdose". Some of the latest abused drugs are so powerful that they can kill on contact (absorbed through the skin). People ignore the consequences and go for the "moment's thrill or pleasure". We normally think that this drug abuse is only an issue with young adults. Not so! Dr. Shila Mathew, MD, a psychiatrist who treats geriatric patients in Cleveland Clinic, told me that even people in 70s and 80s, who had a stellar professional career, are affected by this malaise. Many of them get hooked on addictive medicines such as pain killers when they had it prescribed for legitimate health conditions. But after the underlying condition is gone, they still crave for the 'high' or 'kick' given by these medicines. She calls this the 'pleasure principle'. That is how Satan works. We easily fall victims to the 'pleasure principle'. No time to read bible, or pray or go to church or help neighbors etc; but plenty of time for activities that give us 'pleasure.'

We have to make sure that our hearts are well prepared to receive Jesus or 'the logos'. The soil referred to in this parable is the condition of our heart. Let us keep it weed-free (Satan-free) and well-nourished spiritually where the logos can grow and flourish. We will have to wait for the harvest; but it will come if we keep the logos nourished and watered in our heart-land.

Enjoy the Summer if you are in Northern Hemisphere. For our friends in Australia, New Zealand, and South America, it will be winter soon - a time to prepare for the spring that is not too far away.

Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World


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