He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”
He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
In the barren setting of a late January in the Upper Midwest, it is good to hear Mark’s Gospel comparing the mystery of the growth cycle to the Kingdom of God. The Gospel writer notes, “the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.” As I stare out across the brown bare land, pock marked only by the sporadic white patch of snow, it is indeed a mystery that seeds deep beneath the frozen subsoil lie in wait. Although I have experienced the return of spring many times around now, as I stare out the frozen paned glass of my office window, I am incredulous to its present promise.
And so it is with me, with us: when will new life return? Are there seeds within my own heart, lying in wait? This question alone consoles my winter weary soul. For Mark reminds us, “of its own accord the land yields fruit.” Always. Every year, without fail. Our winter may yield its grip soon, or perhaps longer we know. And the first sign of new life close behind. And so it is with me, with us. The Kingdom of God unfolds in due time, in due season. Always. Every year, without fail. We wait in trust.
—Matthew Couture is the assistant for secondary and pre-secondary education for the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Jesuits. Matt and his wife Bridget live in Chicago and have two children.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress that is made by passing through some stages of instability—and that it may take a very long time.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete….
Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ (excerpted from Hearts on Fire)Please share the Good Word with your friends!