June 17, 2018: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading: Mark 4:26-34
Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a sower 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, the sower 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, the sower wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”
“To what shall we compare the reign 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.
Jesus begins with a statement of fact and a promise: “This is how it is with the kingdom of God.”
To make his point, Jesus uses concrete examples of what can be seen and touched in our daily lives. Examples that help us see what is possible. We understand the smallness of seeds and know they are transformed within the soil to eventually produce the crops, bushes, trees, etc., that fill our earth. Jesus wants us to understand that the smallest of beginnings, including those within us, will not only produce huge results but will continue to grow and expand.
The image of large branches that provide a dwelling place for the many and diverse birds of the sky is also telling. Perhaps it is a reminder that the kingdom of God includes everyone and all creation — no exclusions.
This week be mindful of how the smallest of our words and actions can bring new life to someone else. Rummage through your day and humbly reflect on the seeds you have sown and offer a prayer of gratitude for those that have been planted in you.