Eleventh Ordinary

The Introduction 

If you wanted to reduce the teachings of Jesus to a single theme, you might not do better than to focus on the kingdom of God. “The kingdom” isn’t a fairy tale place of castles and royal courts. The reign of God, as some translators phrase it, is a matter of allegiance more than geography. We don’t move to “kingdom come” when we die. We reside there in the here and now if we choose God’s way over our way in every decision.

Jesus compares the kingdom to a tiny seed hidden in the ground: small, obscure, seemingly without relationship to anything but its secret self. But kingdom seed will emerge to become its own universe of roots and branches, connecting earth and sky and all of life altogether. What seemed irrelevant becomes paramount. What was unseen emerges as dominant against the horizon. Is it so impossible to imagine that one day, everything we can hold in our hands will become worthless? And that invisible things like truth, goodness, faith, love, hope and justice will become the only things that matter?

How do you invest in the kingdom today? What seeds are you sowing now for the harvest to come?

Pay attention to trees, shrubs, flowering things. They grow to meet their absolute potential with simple ingredients like water, air, and sunshine. What do you need to do the same?

When he was alone with his disciples, he went over everything, sorting out the tangles, untying the knots.

The Scripture (Mark 4: 30-32 The Parable of the Mustard Seed)

Jesus continued, “How can we picture God’s kingdom? What kind of story can we use? It’s like a pine nut. When it lands on the ground it is quite small as seeds go, yet once it is planted it grows into a huge pine nut tree with thick branches. The birds of the air can make nests in its shade”.

The Story – Thanks, Dad

I distinctly recall the day when my faith took firm root. I was 7 years old and my sisters and I had just been summoned by my dad to join him around the kitchen table while my mum fixed him dinner. It was very late, around 10 pm. Dad had been out with his buddies. Sometimes when he came home late he’d have a pack of chocolate biscuits to share with us, but this night he just wanted to talk.

“Girls,” he said, “I know you’re excited about Christmas, but I want to make sure you understand what it all means. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I just want to make sure you get it. “God chose to come to earth as a baby – a tiny newborn baby – not a king, not some mighty warrior who would force us to do his will. No, he chose to come to us as a helpless, needy babe, swaddled and cuddled by his mother and watched over by his father.

“Just think about what that says about who God is: God is a God of love and peace; of tenderness and care. That’s the God we believe in. That’s the God you want to follow”.

And thus my father, like Jesus, spoke in words we could understand, scattered the seeds of faith and watched it grow in his children. Thanks, Dad, for the most memorable sermon on the Incarnation I’ve ever heard.

The Reflection

To the early Church, which was often facing opposition and setbacks, like the Church now, these were parables of encouragement. Sow the seed and trust God. The faith spread, the Church grew, the kingdom increased against opposition and persecution. That happened because the early Christians continued to sow the word of God in the hearts of people and the society in which they lived.

The Commissioning

Go from here as God’s gardeners.
We will plant seeds of hope and compassion.
We will nurture those young in years and those young in the faith.
We will care for those who are sick or discouraged.
We will harvest renewed confidence, forgiveness, and serenity. Amen.
And God, Eternal Creator, will bless you.

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