Christians have been charged to be productive as God has deposited in them the required resources and gifts to do so.
The Assistant Parish Priest of St Francis Catholic Church Ekehuan Road, Benin City, Rev. Fr. Alexander Ejiofor, gave the charge on Sunday, 16th July 2023, in a sermon during Mass in the parish.
Explaining the complexity behind the parable of the sower told by Jesus Christ in the gospel of Matthew 13:1-23, Fr. Ejiofor said Jesus made the scripture to be very difficult “because he did not just present the parable to us, he presented it and explained it to us, so that makes our work, who are interpreters of the Gospel for the parable today, very difficult”.
Parable, he said, is an open-ended story which is supposed to be closed by individuals who listen to the story.
“It’s now left for you to decipher and get the understanding of what that parable is actually talking about. But again, you must understand that, understanding this parable, interpreting this parable, you must not do it in your own accord,” he said.
“The Gospel of Matthew at this point presents Jesus as one who has started going hastily into the mission which he came for. He is already going about it very fast and so he begins to teach us in parables.
“And the message which he brings to us today, the Parable of the Sower, which he explained, even while he has explained it, still has a twist in it. And that’s why he advised St John to tell everybody they are welcome into the church but on Christ’s terms, teachings, commandments and not on your own terms.
“We are welcome into the church on the terms of Christ because he is the Lord giver, he is the strict and the righteous judge, the one who stands as a mediator between God and man, that whatever we are in search of, when we take it to the Lord in prayers, we find answers, if only we have gone the extra mile in making our heart receptive to the word of God,” he said.
Referencing Luke 15, the priest recalled the story of the prodigal son. According to him, prodigal as a word simply means one who goes a long way in wasting.
He said the prodigal son was a young man who went and met with his father and requested his share of his father’s estate, wealth and privilege. When he then got his own share, he went to a distant land where was wasteful and so gained for himself the title of being prodigal in action.
The cleric described God as prodigal father and sower who takes the seed and then begins to sow them.
“If you look at his action as an individual or a man who understands the workings of human factor, you will simply tell yourself, why see a rocky ground and still go ahead to sow seed when he (Jesus) knows for sure that it will end in futility, it won’t bring out anything?
“But then because God is a prodigal father, the one who loves us so much, the one who cares for us, he goes the extra mile in being wasteful for our sake that we may hear the word of God, internalize the word of God, let the word of God bear fruit in our heart and that we might be productive in return,” he said.
Fr. Ejiofor told the congregation that the end product of every blessing from God is that he gives humans his wisdom and word.
“He also blesses us with goodness and mercy which guide us in the journey of life, and at the end of our sojourn we can gain for ourselves productivity thereby having effects in the lives of others,” he said.
He charged Christians to love as Christ said (Love thy neighbour as yourself). In that way they would find themselves being productive.