Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sowing the Seeds of the Kingdom

Reflections on the Readings

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - June 17, 2012 - Year B

By Dennis S. Hankins

Readings For This Sunday

Sowing the Seeds of the Kingdom

And he said, "The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how." - Jesus

All around us gardens are growing.  Seeds planted not too long ago are bursting out of the ground revealing all of the life that is in that seed.  And very soon we will have corn from the cob stuck in our teeth while we feast on the goodies from the garden.  All of that good and healthy array of vegetables started from a seed or plant.  Someone did the work of preparing the garden spot.  Someone made the effort to do the perspiring work of planting and watering and weeding their garden.  And then it pays off.  What a miracle a garden is and brings to our lives.

You and me are to bring to our families and neighbors the miracle of the kingdom of God.  This kingdom is in each of us.  Jesus said so.  He said, "The kingdom of God is within you.  It's not here or over there.  It's within you.  Now give what you have received so that others may have within them what I've given you." 

There is nothing more fundamental to a harvest than first there is the sowing of the seed.  Planting seed is an act of faith.  Everything that is done leaves you looking over the soil that is now covering the seed you've sown.  The seed is out of sight.  What lies hidden under the soil remains to be revealed in the vegetable that will come from that seed.  The DNA for the expected vegetable resides within the seed.  But that information is out of sight as well.  The package it comes from shows the product we expect to get from that package of seed.  All of this requires the expectation of faith for if we were to rely on sight we'd say, "No way.  I'll buy it already in a can at the grocery store."

The preached word of the good news gives you and me a new birth.  St. Peter called it being born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.  The Eternal Logos becomes in us a seed of his nature and life.  Our cooperation with the message of the saving work of Christ increases in us that life which that seed contains.  It is then for us to always pray that we may be conformed to that divine life and be for each other and for those whom we meet the precious face and voice and hands of Jesus.  

It is the very friendship of Jesus we are called to share.  Sharing His friendship can take on many forms of service and benevolence.  It just depends if we will become more docile to the nudging of the Holy Spirit.  We can pray more frequently to be led by the Holy Spirit. We can invite him to help us bring the new spring time of faith in this very moment of history.  God has not abandoned the unfolding of history.  The times in which we live require us to be diligent in prayer and faithful in stewardship of the seed of the good news of the life and love and friendship of our dear Jesus.

Many good things begin in small and often imperceptible ways.  A virtuoso begins by practicing the very basic stuff.  Those tedious and repetitious lessons and scales and mastering the time signatures are like the tiny seeds we sow in a garden.  But the results are similar. The concert hall rings with the talent of him or her who has learned the demands of the perfection his art requires.  The farmer's diligent care and protection of the rows and rows of green beans is harvested for us to buy at the farmers market.

And the kingdom, ah yes, the mighty kingdom of God is given in those moments when we sow the seeds of God's love.  When we befriend the thirsty with a glass of water a seed of the kingdom is planted.  A bowl of soup for the hungry or that extra jacket from our closet for someone shivering in the cold is a seed of the kingdom.  No matter how small the effort or insignificant the gesture may seem, Mother Theresa told us, "We are not called to do great things.  We are called to do little things with great love."  Amen.


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