What does it mean to be pastors after the heart of God? We can see how God distributes His Word in today’s Gospel. He continues sowing the seed no matter what the condition of the soil is. It can be very tempting to stop sowing the seed of the Word of God if we look at what has come of our sowing. We see people fall away, we see people sleeping during Mass, we hear people completely misunderstand and misinterpret the Scriptures. Among all of this we also encounter the good soil that, by the fruit they bear, put us to shame. To be a pastor after the heart of God, it would seem that we must continue sowing no matter what. We could find different seeds that would grow better in bad soil, we could simply avoid scattering the seed where we think (or even know) that it will not stand a chance to grow or bear fruit. We know, if we are according to the heart of God, that His Word is truth and life and power. We know that even when it appears to have failed, it is never the fault of the Word itself. Let us continue sowing the True Word without relying upon the results for our motivation.
BASIL THE GREAT:
We should consider our pastor happy in his death because he has laid aside his life at an age rich with years and has gone to his rest with the greatest honors from the Lord. Concerning all else we have this to recommend, that you should cast off all depression, regain self-control and rise to the necessary duty of caring for the church, so that the holy God may give heed to his own flock and provide for you a shepherd according to his will, one who will govern you wisely.1
Brethren and especially priests, if God rebukes whom he loves, and rebukes him for the very purpose of amending him, do not hate, but love those whom you rebuke, that you may amend them. God also before predicted by Jeremiah and pointed to our times, when he said, “And I will give you shepherds according to my heart, and they shall feed you with the food of discipline.” But if in Holy Scripture discipline is frequently and everywhere prescribed, and the whole foundation of religion and of faith proceeds from obedience and fear, what is more fitting for us urgently to desire? What is there more to wish for and to hold fast than to stand with roots strongly fixed and with our houses based with solid mass on the rock, which is unshaken by the storms and whirlwinds of the world, so that we may come by the divine precepts to the rewards of God?2
“The wicked one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.” The wicked one snatches away the good seed. You must also understand that it was sown in the heart. The diversity of soils stands for the diversity of the souls of believers. “And when trouble and persecution come because of the word, he at once falls away.” Notice what was said: “He at once falls away.” Hence there is some distance between the one who is constrained by many troubles and sufferings to deny Christ and the one who in the face of persecution immediately falls away and succumbs.3
Daniel, knowing that the intelligent are the light of the world and that the multitudes of the righteous differ in glory, seems to have said this, “And the intelligent shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and from among the multitudes of the righteous as the stars for ever and ever.” And in the passage, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars. For one star differs from another star in glory: so also is the resurrection of the dead,” the apostle says the same thing as Daniel, taking this thought from his prophecy.4
- LETTER 62. Wenthe, D. O. (Ed.). (2009). Jeremiah, Lamentations (p. 37). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- THE DRESS OF VIRGINS 1–2. Wenthe, D. O. (Ed.). (2009). Jeremiah, Lamentations (p. 38). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 2.13.19–21. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2001). Matthew 1–13 (p. 274). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 10.3. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2001). Matthew 1–13 (p. 275). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.