Thursday January, 28, 2011
Scripture: Mark 4:26-34
The Gospel’s today is containing two parables of a similar nature. The first parable may be called the “parable of the growing seed” or the “parable of the sleeping farmer”. The second parable can be called the “parable of the mustard seed”. Both parables compare the Kingdom of God to a tiny seed which grows.
The first parable is one that is useful for meditation by anyone raising children or caring for a community. It makes the point that the processes of maturation and growth are to a large extent outside of our control: “Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know.”
We are encouraged to approach our tasks on behalf of the Kingdom with a sense of humility and realism. We are caught up in historical forces far larger than we are. It is not all up to us. I think of parents who “throw seed on the land,” the land here being the hearts and consciences of their children.
Very often they have no choice but to step back and surrender to the mysterious forces of growth in the lives of the children. Quite often they have to worry over their young adults who make life and lifestyle choices that conflict with their upbringing, like associating with a particular crowd. Fortunately, very often, their children grow out of their rebellion without the help of their parents, “how, they do not know.”
The second parable makes a contrast between the smallness of the seed that is planted and the great size of the tree which results. The seed grows, sprouts and “puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can make nets in its shade.”
What can mustard seeds teach us about the kingdom of God? The tiny mustard seed literally grew to be a tree which attracted numerous birds because they loved the little black mustard seed it produced. God’s kingdom works in a similar fashion. It starts from the smallest beginnings in the hearts of human who are receptive to God’s word. And it works unseen and causes a transformation from within. Just as a seed has no power to change itself until it is planted in the ground, so we cannot change our lives to be like God until God gives us the power of his Holy Spirit. The Lord of the universe is ever ready to transform us by the power of His Spirit. Are we ready to let God change us by His grace and power? The Kingdom of God produces a transformation in those who receive the new life which Jesus Christ offers. When we yield to Jesus Christ, our lives are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. St. Paul said: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Do you believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit?
God, we thank you for your word which grows like a seed to produce a tree that “puts out big branches.” We thank you for being the kind of God that you are, a God who is large and who invites all people of all walks of life to come and find shade in the branches of the tree of the Kingdom.
Lord, we ask pardon as a nation for the many times when our vision of life is too small or too narrow. We construct visions of national development that benefit only certain sections of the community while others are left on the margins. We think about our country as if it belonged only to one set of citizens and not to others.
Lord, we also ask you for the gift of humility. Teach us the lesson that the growth of the Kingdom is not completely under our control but something for which we must pray, wait and hope. Help us to wait with a sense of hope knowing that “night and day, while we sleep, when we are awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, we do not know.”Amen.