JUNE 13. Ord Time B. Wk. 11. Mk.4. 26-34
Jesus said to the crowds: ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’
He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’
Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.
In today’s teachings Christ is informing us about the Kingdom of God on earth, and how the gift of Faith grows and develops. The first lesson likens the Kingdom to a farmer putting seed in the ground; - once one has received the Faith it will grow of its own accord, without any input from the farmer; - who has to wait until harvest time.
The central theme of this reading is growth and development between planting and harvest; - with one’s faith having the ability to grow and bear fruit without human intervention. How this happens, with both the seed and our faith, is a mystery in that the seed and the soul are slowly transformed to the point where both are able to bear fruit.
The key factor, after the seed is sown however, is the quality of the soil into which the seed is sown; - with our minds and hearts being the soil that receives the seed. What this means is that after planting we have a mysterious interaction between our own hearts and the actions of God; - the one who sows the seed.
This interaction takes place within the confines of what is referred to as the Spiritual life where sanctifying grace and human efforts come together to determine the output and quality of the harvest. Human effort alone is incapable of producing good quality fruit, and God in his wisdom has decreed that no fruit will be produced without significant input from the soul.
Without such input from the soul the seed will simply die; - while the potential for growth, and the production of a harvest, is enormous where God and the soul work co-operatively.
This is borne out in the second part of the reading where we are told the mustard seed is “the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.”
And Christ explains to his disciples why he is talking to them in parables, with this being the best way to have them understand “what the Kingdom of God is like” It must be remembered he was introducing some totally new concepts, and particularly the idea of one’s faith being able to grow and develop and then bear fruit; - with God looking to harvest a crop at the end!
“And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap as the harvest has come!”
Gospel Acclamation Jn15:15
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.