Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 14, 2015 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E.

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In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us two parables about seeds, comparing the mystery of plant growth to the expansion of the kingdom of God on earth.

The first parable says that the growth of seeds is independent from the one who sowed them. This means that the growth of the kingdom of God does not depend on us. It is totally God’s action. The seed has the power of growth in itself. The fruitfulness of the seed is a secret that the sower cannot understand: “He knows not how” (Mk 4:27).

God’s action is invisible to our eyes. However, it is tremendously efficacious: “Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear” (Mk 4:28). God’s action has a multiplier effect: one seed multiplies into many more seeds.

The fact that the kingdom grows owing to God’s action delivers us from all anxiety. We can “sleep and rise” (Mk 4:27), as the Gospel says. We do what we can but God does the most important part.

In the second parable, Jesus says that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. Christ stresses the smallness of the seed and the greatness of the tree. I do not know if you have ever seen a mustard seed but I have. It is very small, smaller than a pinhead, like a grain of dust. Nevertheless, despite being such a tiny seed, it springs up into a huge bush.

The mustard seed is insignificant. It is impossible to find as soon as it is sowed. The seed merges with the soil. The presence of God in the world seems insignificant and invisible. The news does not talk about it.

The soil that receives the seed represents us. The seed falls into our hearts as an unforeseen gift. The soil did not plan to receive the seed. It came as a surprise. The soil where the seed is sowed only needs to welcome the seed.

The soil that received the seed watches with great amazement as the tiny seed becomes a big tree that extends its branches toward the infinite sky: “Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it, every winged thing in the shade of its boughs” (Ez 17:23). Of all God’s creatures, the infinite imagination of God is most evident in the myriad shapes, colors, and sizes of birds.

The mustard seed is ostensibly powerless, like the cross. Jesus compares his death and resurrection to a grain of wheat that is sown and has to die in order to rise in multiplied life: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn 12: 24).

The dynamics and fruitfulness of God’s action cannot be seen. “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). The discovery of the kingdom is an inner experience. The outwardly invisible becomes inwardly visible.

We discover the mustard seed in our encounter with Christ. The moment of the encounter is a moment of grace. The falling of the seed brought unearthly music into the earth, an amazing experience of beauty, goodness, and truth.  A seed was sowed in the secret of the heart. As time passes, we gradually discover the endless possibilities in such a small thing. In the beginning, we almost confounded the seed with the soil. However, the soil that remains faithful to the gift received shall witness the growing of the immense tree with amazement. In the finite seed was an infinite promise. Those who patiently wait shall see their recompense: “Each may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Cor 5:10).

The kingdom of God is present here and now. It is present in the seed and it is present in its mysterious growth. The presence of God recognized in the secret of our hearts opens a wide horizon of hope. For us, the future means fullness. That is why Saint Paul says in the second reading: “We are always courageous” (2 Cor 5:6).

With today’s parables, Jesus tells us that the coming of his Kingdom is a gift with infinite possibilities. Let us pray that all the gifts we receive shall produce abundant fruit in our lives. May we always be faithful to the graces we have received from God.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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