Planting the seeds of love - Gospel Reflection

16 June, 2024 11th Sunday Year B

Most things start small. Someone asks you to be part of a group and a few years later, on reflection, it turns out to have played a significant part in your life. You just kept turning up and something grew there almost unawares. Then, at a particular point, you may have come to understand God was present there and had been all along.


This is how parables work in today’s gospel. They begin where we are, with the familiar, as Jesus speaks to the crowd about God’s kingdom.


In the first parable, seed is planted which sprouts of its own accord and grows steadily until the time to harvest comes. We’re involved in the planting and the harvesting, and may help to facilitate its growth, but ours is not the key role. This is a time of waiting – we wait upon God and God waits with us, and as we do we may recognise God is already present in our lives and the lives of others.


In the second parable Jesus could have mentioned a mighty cedar to suggest what the kingdom of God is like, instead he speaks of the nondescript mustard seed and the bush that emerges from it, ‘the biggest shrub of all’, where all nations and strangers may find shelter. From what seems insignificant to begin with, like turning up for the first time, there emerges what we could hardly have foreseen, in God’s time.


Don’t be concerned about the lack of dramatic signs in this time of waiting. It’s not our job to make something happen, because it is growing, and it will flourish. So, be patient as Jesus is patient, not waiting passively by, but alive to the presence of God and each another.


In the first reading from the prophet Ezekiel the Lord’s power is revealed when he speaks of a ‘noble cedar’, an image of his kingdom, which he’ll plant on the mountain of Israel. It will provide shelter for every kind of bird, like the mustard bush. The growth of the cedar and other trees won’t depend on us, but on the power of the Lord and ‘he will do it.’ This promise is a sign of hope to his people, after their conquest and exile.


In the second reading Paul speaks of the tension between wanting to be with the Lord forever and his calling to live the good news of Jesus Christ. He recognises one depends upon the other. What we do in this life will be the response we make to Jesus in the life to come. So, we’re called to live with confidence, walking by faith, doing what pleases him, until, in his presence, our lives will speak for us.


Keep turning up then, remain faithfully present to one another, and allow the seed that has been planted to come to fulfillment as God has promised. This is what the kingdom is like, and we are to be its agents: it’s the mission entrusted to us.


Damian Coleridge

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