January 29th, 2021

Gospel Reflection written by Dn. Steve Hillmann

The Gospel according to Mark (4:26-34)

Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

Opening Prayer: Lord, let my prayer be fervent so that I see myself and the world more spiritually—the way you see me, the person you always hoped I would be. 

Encountering Christ:

Farmers work hard. They worked even harder in Jesus’s time, but for all the work they did, they couldn’t make a plant grow—even today’s farmers cannot make a plant grow. What is the farmer’s job then?

To help the plant grow. A farmer removes obstacles to a plant’s growth, like weeds and debris. The farmer also gives the plant what it needs to grow and be healthy, if necessary, like water and fertilizer. The farmer provides the best conditions for the plant to grow and the plant responds by growing. Jesus tells us that his kingdom is like this. We don’t make it grow. God does. Our job is to provide the best conditions for the kingdom to grow, first of all in our hearts and then in the hearts of those around us.

Are you a farmer for God? Do you get up every day and grab your gloves, shovel and watering can? Well I bet you do, and if you don’t – well you should! We are called to get our hands dirty every day helping make our personal lives and the world a better place – a more fertile vineyard for God’s people. There are a number of obstacles we must move to make our own souls AND the world more beautiful and productive. We should start by trimming our own branches within, so that we are able to clearly see what God has placed before us.

Can we sow the seed of friendship and happiness in our garden? Maybe we should look at our neighborhood of life and then water it with our prayer hoping to eventually reap a bountiful harvest of new relationships and strengthened bonds between us.

Yes, farmers work hard and today’s farming, as mechanized as it is, still requires the farmer to make the conscious effort to risk it all and plant his or her seeds while trusting in God for their growth. Our lives are the same. You see, it’s all about relationship and dependency on our fellow man. How we treat one another and bring spiritual growth first to ourselves and then to others.

If we will properly prepare our own personal field (heart & soul) and prepare a balanced base for the seed of faith to grow in (prayer), then we will see God bless that planting and He will surely make our tree of faith strong and mighty! He will also shine upon the rest of the plantings we have sowed around us.

Be a risk taker – just like the farmer. The farmer doesn’t know how the harvest will turn out, but he trusts that if prepared well – all will be well. Isn’t our faith similar? If we will allow the seed of our Baptism to grow and we take time to make sure it is well watered with prayer and cultivated with corporal works of mercy, then we will have a strong base and a faith that – just like the mustard tree – will be magnificent and blessed.

Closing Prayer: Lord, I’m sorry for not realizing, for sometimes forgetting, that I am here to help you in your mission of bringing all souls to heaven. Please help me to be ready to encourage, to give good example, to teach those you put in my life and to bring about change for your greater glory.

Action for the Day: Lord, today by your grace I will study something about MY faith so that I know it a little bit better, and can be more faithful in the way I live my life and help those who ask me about my faith.

Grow yourself each day and allow the Beauty of God to radiate His goodness down upon you each day…be patient in allowing your growth to happen little by little every day.

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