How Do You Hear the Word of God?

Sermon on the twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, the Parable of the Sower


In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit

In the reading for today, Christ speaks twice about hearing: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”—that is, pay attention, ask yourself the question about how you hear the word of God.

We hear God’s word from year to year in the Gospel reading in church; we ourselves read it from day to day. What did we hear in the Gospel reading? We met God and believed in Him; we met our Lord Jesus Christ, we have been called by Him name: Christians. But what fruits have we brought forth? We know God, we know that God is Love—love that is inexhaustible, love that is bottomless, love that is a cross. A love that gave itself to over to absolute torment and defenselessness in order to save us. Do we resemble the God in Whom we believe? If we believe in love, if love is the ultimate of everything that makes up the meaning of life, can we say that we have really heard this good and saving news about love not only with our ears, but with our minds and hearts? Have we heard it with our hearts so that we would be on fire with love, have we heard it with our minds so that we would continually ask ourselves: Do my words, my actions, deeds, and my life as a whole express love—or do they negate all my faith? Because if we do not embody love in life, then our faith is in word only.

Before we pronounce the Creed, when we sing, “I believe…” we are called to remember this: Let us love one another, that with one heart we confess the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… If we do not love one another attentively, thoughtfully, creatively, when necessary, and joyfully, then when we pronounce these words about the Triune God Who is Love, we do not believe—we only repeat the words.

Let us ask ourselves this question with all acuteness, with all seriousness. An apostate is not only one who doesn’t believe that God exists; a heathen is not only one who rejects Christ as his Savior. We can be heretics, violators and tramplers of the faith if nothing in our lives witnesses that the God of Love has ignited our souls with a new, supra-earthly love; that He has taught us to love in a way that is impossible to learn on earth, that can only be learned from God… Let us ask ourselves this question, and let us answer it boldly, bravely, joyfully—not with words but by our lives. And then our lives will flourish, and what Christ has promised us will come to pass when He said: I came to give you life, and life in abundance. This is the fulness of life, which the earth cannot give. Amen.

October 28. 1979

Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh
Translation by


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