11th Ordinary Sunday

Monk’s

Corner

AUDIO —

11th Ordinary Sunday                                                                                        Mark 4:26-34


When proclaiming the Kingdom of God, Jesus consistently used parables and agricultural comparisons that were completely familiar to the people when explaining the concept of God’s Kingdom on earth and how it will grow until he comes again. The passage we hear today centered on the concept of ‘kingdom.’  The people of his time were very familiar with worldly kingdoms, Israel was surrounded by kingdoms and was itself a kingdom ruled then by King Herod, who was not a Jew himself but had gained the throne through political intrigue. Jesus wanted to wean the people away from their understanding of these earthly kingdoms to show them his kingdom is spiritual in nature.


Farmers spare no effort to prepare the soil for the planting of the seed; once the seed was sown there is nothing more they can do. — Maybe they could pray for rain, or pray that there would be no hail, but until harvest the seed develops on its own. Our Lord uses this process of nature to explain the inner strength that causes the Kingdom of God to grow, from the tiny seed he is planting, until the day of harvest, that is, the day of judgment, when God will wield his sickle.


One of the signs of the divine origin of the Catholic Church is its rapid growth from very humble beginnings. Just twelve Apostles and a mixed following of men and women disciples. 


Jesus could have come as a full grown man, preached the gospel by himself and by extraordinary miracles he could have astounded the world into believing without the help of anyone. Instead he chose to come as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, the son of a poor mother and a carpenter as his father. He lived many years in Nazareth, in poverty, earning his bread by the sweat of his brow. For three years he walked the highways and the by-ways of Palestine preaching and sowing the seed of redemption. He chose twelve of the most ordinary of ordinary men to be his Apostles, the first bishops and the foundation of his Church (ecclesia), which he established. to continue his teachings and administer his sacraments, under the watchful eye of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate.


At the end, he laid down his life for the world, as prearranged by the Father, and allowed his enemies to capture him, condemn him, and crucify him to a tree. They did not take his life, no, he laid it down of his own volition. This was the humble beginning that was the preparation of the ground and the sowing of the seed for his kingdom a seed like the mustard seed, that would spring from the earth to bear fruit over all the earth for all ages. This was God’s plan and therefore it succeeded as he said it would. This story touched human hearts wherever it was told and the grace of God did the rest. It was not the apostles nor their disciples converted the pagan world, no, the Holy Spirit and the objective truth of the word that led to the conversion of the Roman empire.


Therefore, the spread of the Church is a proof of its divine origin — it is from God and God is with it. How grateful should we be to God, who has made us members of his kingdom on earth, with the promise of a place in his eternal kingdom in heaven. How good God has been to us! When we think about all that he went through for us can we complain because he sends us the sufferings that help us to share in his sacrifice to help us atone for our sins? 


The tiny mustard seed has grown into a tree that gathers over a billion souls into its branches. But Christ wants all people to come into his kingdom on earth. Considering all this can we be so ungrateful as to refuse to lend a helping hand? God forbid! —It is up to us to try and save those in the devil’s control, the addicted, the backsliders, the faithless, and those who could care less; let’s try to interest them again in the kingdom with the tools that Jesus gave us: scripture, prayer, the Church and the sacraments. All this for the betterment of the world. 

 © JOSEPH MEILINGER 2022