Gospel Reflection June 13 – Deacon Don
Sunday, June 13
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 4: 26-34
Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
God works even when we don’t. He works with us or without us. In any case, He wins with or without our cooperation, so why not join Him? If we don’t we can only be the worse for it. When we pray, “Your Kingdom come” in the Lord’s prayer, we are praying to place ourselves under this loving power of God. In today’s Gospel, we are presented two parables that highlight the meaning of the Kingdom coming. They both describe the Kingdom of God, but from slightly different lenses.
The first parable describes what the Kingdom as God is like. The Kingdom is more than a place or a time, it is a reign without limits to time or place, so His Kingdom is here to stay. God the Father transcends all of that while He scatters the seed (all creation) across the land. All creation grows and evolves to an eventual conclusion with the harvest. This can be a confusing and daunting prospect to anyone who does not participate in God’s plan, when we are meant to sprout and grow to prepare for the harvest.
The second parable uses a metaphor of the mustard seed. This description of the Kingdom starts small and seemingly forgotten and yet, grows into the largest of bushes to provide shade and comfort, if we choose to dwell in it. We see so many people and institutions that push up against this version of the kingdom. God is not frustrated by rejection and indifference. Even some governments and other powerful agencies have done their utmost to obliterate Christianity from the area under their control. They will inevitably fail. Jesus gives us an image of the Kingdom comparing it to a mustard seed. It emerges from tiny beginnings — a backwater in the powerful Roman world. Yet, it grows despite significant headwinds often over its 2,000-year history.
This Gospel is to give us encouragement. The green vestments we wear in Ordinary Time denote a season of hope and not fear. When these words were written, the Church was still small like a mustard seed. From small beginnings, with no technology or media, it grew because its message resonated with Truth and harmony to the parables described in today’s Gospel. Our time, as with our ancestors, is a time of discovery and participation in this Kingdom that reigns now and forever.
-Deacon Don Poirier