First Reading: Ezk 17:22-24; Psalm: 92. R. v. 2a; Second Reading: 2 Cor 5:6-10; Gospel: Mk 4:26-34  



How Do Seeds Sprout? | Wonderopolis

Our gospel reading of today contains a couple of parables. But looking at this gospel as a whole, it can be divided into three parts. The first part is a parable that compares the kingdom of God to a man who scatters seed upon the ground but do not know how the seed sprouts and grows. The second part is likewise a parable that compares the kingdom of God to a grain of mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, but when sown upon the ground, becomes the greatest of all shrubs. The third part which concludes the gospel discloses the didactic style adopted by Jesus in teaching; the use of parables. Our reflection today will focus on the first part and a little bit on the second part of today’s gospel.

One evening prior to the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII, the Pope who convened this council was perusing the numerous issues of concern to be discussed during the impending council. The night was closing in on him as the whole task was becoming cumbersome and overwhelming. But then the pontiff suddenly realised he was worrying too much. He paused for a while, admitted his limitations and submitted to divine providence in these words; “Listen Lord, this Church is yours, not mine. I’m going to sleep.” The Pope had faith in God who comes through for us when we have done our best.

In the first parable of today’s gospel, Jesus did not stop at telling us about a man who scatters seed upon the ground but went further to highlight a very crucial message that deserves conscious attention. The farmer in the parable goes to sleep and rise night and day, while the seed he plants sprouts and grows; but how this happens, the farmer does not know. With this illustration, Jesus underscores the divine action of God in the growth of God’s kingdom on earth. When we hear the gospel; the conversion and spiritual growth that happens thereafter within our hearts is solely the activity of God and beyond the capacity of man.

But on a broader scope, in our individual undertakings we can also testify to this divine role of God in bringing to fruition our human efforts at God’s own appointed time. There are things we do or expectations we have, but are out of control on how they materialise. We know that the results are not solely out of our own efforts but that there is a miracle in-between. Of course, at times we may be able to explain how these results came about. But we know we definitely did not engineer them to happen; neither we nor any other human party involved in the process. This shows that God is working behind the scene. God is working in-between our efforts and results.

People have recovered from a terminal illness; received help from strangers; and forgiveness from unexpected people. Some have received a phone call that changed their lives positively for good. Now, we may have some explanations as to how all these happened; but the divine inner workings that engineered the whole process and make them come to light are beyond our grasp. Man is not the primary cause of anything good; God is. Results are often seen as products of hard work. This is not too far from the truth. But often times we are blind to the unseen mechanics that happen in-between the efforts we put in and the results we get. That miracle in-between is the changer and not solely our hard work. God is the engineer.

Our gospel reading of today invites us not to overlook but to trust and acknowledge the divine role of God in the successes we attribute to ourselves. God needs our human efforts to collaborate with his divine workings. Not that God cannot do things on his own; but because God disapproves of idleness. So, when we achieve successes, we must acknowledge the unseen divine role of God in them, without which we are doomed to fail. And as the second parable in today’s gospel highlights; do not overlook little beginnings or consider insignificant any little action. We cannot just sit idle and pray for miracles to happen. God needs us to do our best no matter how little. And when we have done our best, we can then turn to God in confidence and trust saying; “Lord, the ball is now in your court.”


Lord Jesus, grant us the humility to acknowledge your divine role in the successes we attribute to ourselves; that we may rely on you and not solely on our human prowess. Amen


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