A Good Heart or Heart Choked by Thorns – By Father Gabriel Alkass
So, according to today’s feast, our Holy Fathers arranged an appropriate reading from St. Matthew Chapter 13. The passage explains how Jesus got on a boat that day, and a large crowd gathered around them as He spoke to them about many things in parables.
A sower went out to sow, and some seeds fell on the path. Some of them fell on rocky ground, other seeds fell upon thorns, and other seeds fell upon good soils.
The sower is the Lord Jesus, and the seeds are the word of God. And the spots where the seeds fall are the symbols of four different kinds of hearts. Today, I will speak about the third one, the thorns.
I will not speak about the fourth seed, the good soil, because there’s not enough time. But I have found many good hearts in this church, and special thanks to the good sower for the past six years Father Andrew.
So to understand the thorns, we look to Matthew 13:8, which says – “Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.”
Who are these people?
At each feast, the word of God is accepted, but as it grows, the thorns choke it. These people start by accepting the word of God joyfully, but then they go back to their normal life and grow thorns. And the Lord Jesus specifies those people possessed by wealth, fame, and worldly desires.
If the mind follows these things, it is corrupted, and cannot find the truth, the reason Jesus brought us into this world.
We can have these things but not be possessed by them.
Here’s a story to inspire us:
A young and very rich man, about 18-20 years old, loved going to confession with his abouna for about four years. Then one day, that priest moved on and told the young man to continue work on the many thorns in his heart with another priest.
The man answered wisely, “Do I look handsome? Do I look healthy? Do I look wealthy?” The priest said yes.
Then the man said, “Then abouna, I still have many things ahead of my life, so let me enjoy it. And what you call sins, I call the things I want to enjoy in my life. So, I don’t think I will continue with another priest.”
As much as about tried with this gentleman, the priest could not change his mind. But the young man promised as he approached death, he would repent and say, “Lord, have mercy on me,” and God will forgive him.
Then 22 years passed, the young man was about 40 years old, and he tried to reach out to abouna. Then a couple of months later, he found him and said, “Abouna, I need to see you as soon as possible.”
He said, “Abouna, do you remember how I felt in the past? Am I crazy? Now I will tell you what happened to me. I died and came back to life.”
The man cried and said, “Abouna, please believe me.”
“One day, I went to the hospital for a very simple surgery, and suddenly I saw my body and spirit above me in the room. Doctors and nurses tried everything to bring me back to life. Then a power pulled me out of the room, and we moved very fast over the city, country, and the whole universe. We went into a black tunnel. We were moving very fast.”
“Then I stopped somewhere to watch my whole life on a big screen, seeing and feeling every moment in my life to the day I was born. Almost until 13-14 years old.”
At that point, I saw my life as crystal-clear glass, but then I began to sin and got black spots. And abouna, each time I confessed, you took my black sins away. Until abouna, you left me.
And then I committed sins one after another until my soul was pitch black.
And then that power took me down, and it felt like I was going to hell. “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me,” I cried, “and just give me another chance.”
“And then I felt a mighty hand bring me back to my flesh. And I died for six and a half minutes.”
The abouna then tracked down the nurse from that day to confirm what the young man said. And she said, “He woke up after six and a half minutes and would not want to sleep because he wanted light, “and for two months, he would not want to go to sleep.
Then abouna asked the wife; she said, “My husband turned into an angel. He does not want anything from the world. He even sold the castle for a simple house.”
That’s why we all don’t have a chance, my beloved. These stories are to benefit our Christian life.
Everything we say and do is recorded. Not just the bad things but also the good things. That’s why we need to work as Christians. Remember, we are Christians, and we have something much better waiting for us.
Learn more in Father Gabriel’s latest sermon video here.
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May 21, 2023