Planting Seeds – Yielding to the Mystery of Growth

Fr.John greenEleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year B

 

Ezekiel 17:22-24
Psalm 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16
2 Corinthians 5:6-10
Mark 4:26-34

Planting Seeds – Yielding to the Mystery of Growth

Every time we read Sacred Scripture and digest the Word, we open ourselves to the realm of discernment and belief.  All the readings today speak about growth and finding shade it the splendor of the cedar and branches of the mustard bush.  The image of the first reading and the two parables contained in the gospel pertain to God’s desire for growth and fruitfulness.  In particular, we are asked to relate these images to our personal faith and see where God can work with the barren branches of our life and how we, ourselves, are called to go out and make an effort of scattering the seed on the fertile ground of endless possibilities that God has gifted to us.  Even though our efforts or desire to know and serve God more fully may sometimes overwhelm us, we are reminded today that no matter how small our attempts, no matter how small our faith, no matter how long it takes, a time will come when we see the fruits of such labor.

Our lives are so complex.  Relationships can be most profound and beautiful, but sometimes fall prey to hardship and pain.  When relationships become difficult and people distance themselves from one another, the heart can break and the very faith to which we cling can be tested.  Serious illness can either bring us closer to God or can become a catalyst to doubt His presence and the promise he gave to us that he would be with us until the end of time.  Experiences of disappointment with people, communities, and various institutions may lead us to ask why we should bother in the first place; some might ask why God allows such negative things to happen.  It is within the complexities of life that the mystery of God is revealed.  The Lord grants humanity the gift of freedom so that we may make choices to glorify the gift freely given by Him, the Giver of the gift.  However, the choices of others can leave us let down or hurt.  The reality of a fragile economy can seriously leave people struggling to make ends meet or even lose their jobs.  Such a reality finds its source ultimately in choices made and risks taken.  When illness hits us, it ultimately has its roots in environmental factors around us, eating habits, or genetic manipulation; all of which points to individuals or nature making choices.  To say God makes such choices to bring us suffering is to contradict the prophets and the wisdom of Christ and his apostles.  It is abundantly clear in Sacred Scripture that God chooses that we have life and have it more abundantly by choosing Him and holding onto the promises He has given to us.  God plants in our hearts the seed of promise that will bear fruit in the hope of eternal life.

Christ_tells_an_apostle_how_a_mustard_seed_grows_into_a_tree_Wellcome (web)_V0034951The gospel today reminds us that no matter how small or insignificant we regard ourselves and our faith, we are regardless called to go out and make an attempt to scatter those seeds of faith in a world waiting to be fed by God’s presence and wisdom.  Each of us has a particular responsibility to spreading such faith.  We do it by offering a sense of hope in difficult situations.  We achieve proclaiming the gospel when face with a lack of forgiveness by offering mercy and compassion.  All of us start of see growth when we offer others a way out of their mistakes.  The seed of faith starts to slowly grow when we embrace the freedom of Christ by bring others to the Truth that gives dignity and equality to all human life from conception to natural death.  Seeds become fertile when we recognize and reward the dignity of human labor.  The fertile ground of God can be clearly seen when we engage in acts that welcome the strange, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit those who are infirm or imprisoned by their crimes or their fears.  All of these situations can be seen as the fertile ground of God’s compassion made possible through us.

In the first parable today, Jesus tells his listeners that the man who scattered the seed would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, but he reminds them, the man does not know how.  And so it is with our faith and in the attempts to live out our faith.  Sometimes it takes time and God’s grace to bear fruit in our lives!

image: Christ tells an apostle how a mustard seed grows into a tree. (Etching)/Wellcome Images/Wellcome Trust via Wikimedia Commons

Prayer

We pray: Lord, grant us the wisdom to know that no matter how great or small our faith is, it is a gift freely given by you to enable us and others to grow.  May we be gracious enough to sow the seeds of your mercy, your compassion and your love.  Give us the grace to go to the arid wastelands of this world, and give us the courage to scatter the seeds that will lead others to grow in justice and in truth.    Amen.

Questions

How do you find shelter in God’s Word?
Do you consider your faith to be strong?
How do you use your faith to reshape the world around you?
In what ways do you sow the seed of mercy and love in your relationships?
Does God’s will and Sacred Word bring fruit in your life and in the life of others?
Are you willing to take up the challenge to plant the seeds of truth and mercy as Christ and the Church teaches us?
Name the ways in which the mystery of God has been revealed through your life and your efforts.

Voices of Faith

“I believe in the sun even when it is not shining
And I believe in love, even when there’s no one there.
And I believe in God, even when he is silent.

I believe through any trial,
is always a way
But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter,
to know someone’s there
But a voice rises within me,
saying hold on my child, I’ll give you strength,
I’ll give you hope. Just stay a little while.

I believe in the sun even when it is not shining
And I believe in love even when there’s no one there
But I believe in God even when he is silent
I believe through any trial there is always a way.

May there someday be sunshine
May there someday be happiness
May there someday be love
May there someday be peace….”

—Words scratched on the walls of  a cellar  in Cologne, Germany by a Jew (Anonymous) hiding from Nazi 

 

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