Gospel Reflection June 16 – Deacon Paul Zemanek

Sunday, June 16

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.”

He said,

“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.

Gospel Reflection:

Friends, Jesus told lots and lots of parables in his time to interrupt our thinking on what we thought we knew. Today, the key point of Jesus’ teaching was about the coming of God’s reign. For Jesus compared the quality of the kingdom to that of a mustard seed, because when the seed is sown, it starts off very small, but when it is fully grown it attains the height of a tree. In other words, in God’s kingdom there is room for all people to dwell securely under its lofty branches.

And so, you might be asking yourselves, why would Jesus use this image of a seed in his parables and what can a mustard seed teach us about the kingdom of God? Well first, the seed is very small, and in the eyes of most people, it is considered to be insignificant. But this is exactly how God works. He always works from humble and small beginnings, from that of the manger in Bethlehem…to the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth…all the way to the cross at Calvary.

The tiny mustard seed in today’s parable grew to be a tree, which attracted numerous birds because they loved the little black seed that it produced. And this is exactly how God’s kingdom works. For it starts from the smallest of beginnings…in the hearts of men and women who are receptive to God’s word. And just as the 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. And so, today, let us allow the seed of God’s word to take deep root in our own lives, and transform us into fruit-bearing disciples for Jesus Christ.

Deacon Paul Zemanek