The Holy 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.
Reflection: Our Lord communicates the Good News in images, stories and in words that the people will be able to understand. The people during the time of Jesus were primarily agrarian, so they could relate to Jesus using seed to speak of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God starts out small, like a seed. In the first instance, Jesus tells us how the seed is scattered and grows even though the farmer does not know how. All the farmer did was “scatter” the seed. He harvests the seed when the grain is ripe. In the second instance, Jesus uses the image of a small mustard seed which grows into the largest of plants. In each instance, the seed is planted. Others come along to help it grow by watering it, tilling the soil, and nurturing it. The seed eventually grows to produce fruit. Today, the Kingdom of God begins with us. The “seed” of faith was planted in each one of us at our baptisms. Over time, that seed, our faith, grew with the help of our parents, god parents, teachers, family, receiving the sacraments and other people of faith who came into our lives. Did anybody “plant” a seed in you? I recall years ago when a parishioner “planted” the seed of the diaconate in me. All she said was, “Have you ever thought about becoming a deacon?” Of course, I said no. But the seed had been planted. Now, we are called to plant the seed of faith in others to build up the Kingdom of God. We may not see the “fruits” of that seed, but the seed was planted. Consider the roots of your spiritual life. Who has planted “seeds” in your life? How did others tend to your faith life, and how do you care for yourself spiritually, in other words, make that seed grow? Today is also the optional memorial for St. Angela Merici. She was orphaned at age 10 and was led to embrace the vocation of a Franciscan tertiary. Others planted seeds of service and ministry in St. Angela Merici. The fruits of these seeds led St. Angela Merici to establish a group of women as the Congregation of the Ursulines and a ministry to unmarried young women.
Action for the Day: Are we sowing seeds of faith in others to build up the Kingdom of God? If not, may we ask for the grace to start scattering those seeds. The Kingdom of God is at hand!