June 17, 2012: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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 through it all 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. (Mark 4:26-34)
Jesus lived at a time when many of the people he talked to grew their own food. They knew that when they put a seed in the ground nothing would happen quickly. Though they could not see what happened under the ground–if they could they would see quiet and slow movement as the seed opened up, then put out little tentacles to touch and absorb food and water, and finally became something they could eat. Jesus uses this activity–of a seed growing and becoming food–to tell us how God feeds us with the words of Jesus (the seed), that is placed inside us and as we live and grow. This seed in us becomes our faith and opens us up to hear God’s word, and to follow God’s instruction about how to live and how to love.
If you can find a book about how to garden, read it and try to see what happens to the seeds you place in the ground. Then take some time to read more about how to garden, thinking as you read, however, not only about planting seeds in your garden, but about how you water and fertilize and tend to the seeds of God’s love that are planted in the garden of your heart.
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