After fifteen weeks of journeying through the seasons of Lent and Easter, we return today to what is often prosaically called “Ordinary Time” but which I prefer to call the Season of Growth or the Season of Discipleship. In the Gospel today from Mark we are reminded of this when Jesus tells two of his familiar parables about seeds, soil and growth.
Even when the beginnings are so small as to be almost hidden there is one thing that is always certain – at least in the economy of God’s life – and that is a rich harvest. The farmer scatters the seeds on the ground and night and day the seed sprouts and grows. This doesn’t mean that we should just sit back and allow God to do all the work! No, the image of a certain harvest promises that even when our efforts to announce the goodness of God’s kingdom may appear to be fruitless or insignificant, we should not be discouraged or give up. Despite the church buying into the modern obsession with statistics, the only evidence of success that we need is that the harvest will arrive.
In a similar way the parable of the mustard seed reminds us that kingdom is not about the huge and flashy greatness that other kingdoms attempt to build for themselves. The mustard bush is enough to provide shade for the birds of the sky.
In our more sophisticated experience of church, it can be tempting to imagine that we have to be success-driven and strive for the great and mighty events and seek power and influence. These parables should provide us with a warning that we cannot look down on the small beginnings and simple devotion of people. One person’s vocation is always precious, or a few people meeting together to seek God’s will for their life or to plan and pray often herald the beginning of some beautiful new initiative that is also part of God’s plan for new creation.
The challenge remains for us to discern how to be the best kingdom-workers and kingdom-explainers that we possibly can be in our own day.
Grace and peace.
We had the Mission Sunday Annual appeal this weekend, so only a short homily was preached to allow time to watch the Catholic Mission video and take up the collection. A Journey Radio reflection is also available.
Sunday 11, Year B.