daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Saturday, 24th Week of the Year, September 23, 2017
1 Timothy 6:13-16, Psalm 99, Luke 8:4-15

Scripture quotations are from the RSV unless otherwise noted.


"And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature" (Luke 8:14).

This is the parable of the sower. "The seed is the word of God" (Luke 8:11). The different kinds of soil are the different kinds of people that the word is sown in. These different people all live in different circumstances causing the word sown in them to have different degrees of success in bearing fruit.

One of the circumstances in which the word is sown is in people who are surrounded by thorns. Seed sown among thorns that are not uprooted will not bear good fruit, because the thorns will grow up together with the good seed and slowly choke it to death by using up most of the nutrients in the soil that the good seed needs to produce good fruit. In Palestine these thorns can grow up to six feet high.

This is what will happen to the word of God sown in the hearts of people who are surrounded by thorns and thistles. Jesus tells us that the thorns are "the cares and riches and pleasures of life" (Luke 8:14).

These people have heard the gospel, but their lives are so filled with distractions, temptations, and noise that the word does not have a chance to grow in them. Their attention is constantly distracted by all the noise and activity continually going on around them. Their TV is always on and people are constantly coming and going and talking to them. Their lives are not organized or disciplined. They have no strict schedule for prayer, reading, writing, and study, and so other things come in and continually distract them, and they get little worthwhile done. They simply run from one distraction and temptation to another.

We must therefore be most careful that this doesn't happen to us, for if it does, our lives will be fruitless for the Lord. Jesus tells us this parable as a warning to us to organize and discipline our life, especially our free time, so that we might use it well and productively for the Lord and not waste our precious free time on frivolous pursuits.

It is good to keep up with the daily news, but there are other things that we should also reserve time each day to do. We need to read spiritual things, pray, and write. But to find the time to do these things, we need to be organized and live a scheduled and disciplined life.

Jesus warns us, "Take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare" (Luke 21:34).

To be weighed down with dissipation like this is not the purpose of our life. The purpose of our life is to be devoted to the Lord who saved us. As Christians, justified by faith, because of the death of Christ on the cross that atoned for and freed us from our sins, we are now supposed to live for him who died and rose for us (2 Corinthians 5:15). This is God's plan for our life. We should know this and make a real effort to live according to this plan if we want to have a happy and blessed life. A blessed life is a life lived in the way that God wants us to live it, which is for his glory, loving him with all our heart and soul, mind and strength, which is Jesus' first and greatest commandment (Mark 12:30).

To love God with all our heart and soul, mind and strength, we need to be organized and disciplined. We cannot be chasing after worldly pleasures that distract and divide our heart from an undivided love of the Lord. That is why Christians are called to simplicity, to a simple life, to serve only one master, the Lord, not also "the cares and riches and pleasures of life" (Luke 8:14) that distract us from the goal of our life, which is serving only one master.

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24).

That is why serious Christians live simply, dress simply, and eat simply. They seek their delight in the Lord, not in fancy, spiced-up food and culinary delights. Rather, they eat plain, simple, well-balanced, healthy food.

We should also love our neighbor, that is, those we live with and see every day. And this is Jesus' second greatest commandment (Mark 12:31). God created us as social beings and so loving our neighbor should also be part of a simple Christian life, focused on the Lord.

But our love for others must always be subordinate to our love for Christ and not distract us from it, for "he who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:37).

If family love is too strong, it will interfere with our new life in Christ and we will be like a little seed trying to grow amid six-foot high weeds that are sucking up all the nutrients that we need to produce good fruit for the Lord.

So we must renounce worldliness and a worldly lifestyle, which is simply chasing after frivolous, time-wasting, heart-dividing, mind-distracting, superficial worldly pleasures, pastimes, and entertainments. Giving up a worldly lifestyle is giving up worldliness for the sake of a life focused on the Lord. So we should renounce worldliness and a worldly lifestyle and have nothing to do with it.

"Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14).

We should be dead and crucified to these worldly absurdities and have nothing to do with them. They are the opposite of our new way of life as a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are crucified to the world because we have a completely different goal than worldly people. Our goal is to live for God alone with all the love of our heart.

Married people do this together with their spouse and family, and celibates do it in a still deeper, more radical, more literal, and more complete way, for God is the only spouse of their heart (1 Corinthians 7:32-34).

In either case, we must pull up the weeds, "the cares and riches and pleasures of life" (Luke 8:14), or else our life will not be organized and fruitful for the Lord, which is God's will and plan for us.


That is why we lose our life for Christ's sake, and so end up saving it with God. But worldly people do just the opposite. They try to save their life in this world by living in a worldly way, filling themselves with worldly pleasures, but end up losing their life with God, "for whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospels will save it" (Mark 8:35).

Let us therefore lose our lives in this world by being crucified to the world, and the world to us, by uprooting the thorns around us, "the cares and riches and pleasures of life" (Luke 8:14). Then we will be able to bear good fruit for the Lord, for "he who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (John 12:25).

To hate our life in this world is to pull up the weeds, to renounce worldliness and a worldly lifestyle, to be crucified to the world, and the world to us (Galatians 6:14). And "he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (John 12:25). But he who loves his life in a worldly way loses it with God, for "he who loves his life loses it" (John 12:25).


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