What is the kingdom like? MARK 4:26–34 by Sr Angilla Corraspé OP
For the past two Sundays, the gospel reveals Jesus’ concern with the poor and the criteria for family, with discipleship, and relationship with other and with God.
In this week’s gospel, His focus is on the Kingdom; his question, what is the kingdom like? There are two images of the kingdom provided. He said a man throws seed on the land. When he is awake, he sees the seed is sprouting and growing. How? He does not know.
He also said it is like a mustard seed, which at time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth. Yet once it is sown, it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that birds of the air can shelter in its shade.
The images given are not static—they have life; there is movement. It is a process in which there is growth and production. In the growth there is the possibility of shelter, comfort and security. In the parable, the seed must die; it must grow and produce harvest. It calls for a kind of waiting on God to do His thing. We cannot force it. We must allow the natural process to run its course. The smallest seed grows into the biggest tree, but the focus is on harvest rather than size.
There is no comparison between the expectation of the Kingdom and its effects. I distinctly remember two weeks ago, while looking at a programme on a local television station, the story of a young, deaf woman.
She shared how lonely she felt because others could not communicate with her. She was depressed but always had a desire to, one day, communicate. In her quest to achieve this goal, she had to wait and hope that her dreams would become a reality.
Fortunately for her, she came across someone who introduced her to sign language. She studied it at length and eventually was enrolled in the School for the Deaf at a later age. She believed, and today she teaches deaf children.
The mystery of the Kingdom of God is revealed in this story. We are called to be stewards of the Kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 4:1 “This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed”.
The death and resurrection of Christ too is the mystery of the Kingdom. On the cross Jesus is hidden now, as process of the growth of the seed. The power of Jesus is absent on the cross and His glory is in the resurrection.
What image do we have of the Kingdom of God in the present violent situation in Trinidad and Tobago? What are some of the small things that are happening now, which can be allowed to run its course, allowing God to bring the harvest to maturity, and allowing us to trust, and see ourselves as part of the parable of the smallest seed that grows into the biggest shrub, so that those in need may find shelter in one of its many branches?
In our modern world, we can do many things by pressing a button or moving a switch and eventually, we think we can move people like that too but helping others to grow is something totally different.
The things we preach may sometimes seem irrelevant or trivial—love your enemies; put the poor first in your calculations; practise modesty. Yet we know that we must keep preaching these things because if that tiny seed continues to be sown, one day it will become the biggest shrub.
The Gospel Meditations for June are by Sr Angilla Corraspé OP of the Gran Couva/Tabaquite Parish.