Two parables reveal God’s mercy by inviting us into His Kingdom
Reflections on the readings for the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 13, 2021): EZ 17:22-24; PS 92:2-3,13-14,15-16; 2 COR 5:6-10; MK 4:26-34
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
We cooperate with God’s grace, but cannot achieve anything of value on our own schedule or according to our own plan.
In today’s Gospel, we listen to Jesus tell the crowd following Him two parables that are meant to instruct them about the meaning of the Kingdom. “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit.… The harvest has come” (Mark 4:26-27, 29). In the second and better-known parable of the mustard seed, our Lord talks about the tiny mustard seed that grows into a great-sized plant. Through both stories, listeners learn more about the Kingdom to which they are called.
The parable of the growth of the seeds tells us that those who believe in Christ participate in the building of the Kingdom. But the scattering of the seeds is just one part of the whole process. First, the seeds themselves are not produced by human hands, but through God’s design – a design that we will never fully understand. The grain gradually grows over time and through His care until it is ready for the sower to harvest. All this amazing growth that we tend to take for granted is not in our control. We cooperate with God’s grace, but cannot achieve anything of value on our own schedule or according to our own plan. The second parable again deals with seeds and the development of plants. But here the emphasis is on the need for patience when starting with something that seems so small and insignificant. In time it will reach full growth, attracting the notice of the birds of the sky that will find rest in its comforting shade. Rather, it is the people of the whole world who are welcomed to the joy of the Kingdom. Jesus uses many parables to introduce people willing to hear Him to the goodness of Almighty God and to His plan for their salvation. He will teach His closest disciples more fully, but all are invited to grasp, at some level, the personal care and concern that God has for His people. In time, all people will be better able to understand the Kingdom and the gift of redemption.