And Yet It Grows

Jun 12, 2018

Gospel Reflection, 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B
Ezekiel 17: 22 - 24; 2 Corinthians 5: 6 - 10; Mark 4: 26 - 34

And Yet It Grows

How does God’s kingdom grow?  Can you see it or predict it?  Jesus talks about God’s kingdom and its growth often, mostly in parables.  With the images of daily life, he shows that daily life is not mundane.  Everything can become something at which to marvel.

What is more normal than seed being sown?  And then the seed lies in the ground, but look: it is growing.  Day and night whether the sower is thinking about it or not, the seed grows and grows, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  Jesus adds that the man “knows not how”.

Scientists have learned a great deal about how it grows, but this should only lead us to greater wonder at the way that God created the world, not less.  Our wonder at the marvels of nature is meant to lead us to even greater wonder at the marvels of the supernatural realm.   The kingdom of God is growing and we know not how.  The farmer sows the seed.  Yet he has not made the seed, nor does he directly produce the growth.  He can only till the soil, water it, and take care of the plant faithfully.  So it is with the kingdom of God.  Parents can sow the seed of faith in their children’s hearts.  They can encourage its growth, but they cannot make it grow. 

Sometimes it seems that the kingdom of God is not growing, but rather shrinking.  Yet, God remains the sovereign Lord of growth and the harvest.  God sends growth as his gift to let the fruit of his action ripen.  A great example is that of the saints.  Many saints grew in faith in the worst of times and situations.  Yet, God was faithful to bring growth in their spiritual life.  A great example was that in the little Polish town of Krakow, in 1920, a child was baptized with the name of Karol.  A seed was sown, as small as a mustard seed.  This man died on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, April 2nd, 2005 as Pope John Paul II and was a great saint.  A giant tree grew up from a tiny mustard seed of faith.  Many were able to nest in its branches.  He, above all others, freed the world from Communism and gave courage and hope to many people.  And the kingdom of God has grown.

Father Tony