The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home
June 17, 2018 –11th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Mark 4:26-34
What a great teacher Jesus was! And this is shown in no small way by the way he taught his first listeners (and now us) by using stories and images to help us understand the deep truths that he wanted us to know. We might also think of him as a great poet, one whose “poems” till speak to us today. And this is well illustrated by today’s gospel where he likens the Kingdom of God to the growth process of a mustard seed. Very small at the start and magnificently large and abundant in the end.
I have held mustard seeds in my hand. A diaconate student of mine runs a mustard seed business and one day he brought a small bag full of these remarkable seeds for everyone to inspect. They were indeed tiny and they would, if treated properly, result in becoming a giant bush. We were all impressed as were those who heard Jesus using this image in his teaching.
The various processes that are part of God’s good creation have captured the attention of use humans for centuries. Thinking about the size of the Universe, the way hydrogen atoms are changed into helium atoms and then into all the elements of the periodic table, the way living beings evolve from non-living ones, the beginnings of conscious thought, all these amazing processes began years and years ago and are continuously happening around us. Yet we can seemingly never fully understand these great happenings. And if we look at them with eyes of faith, we can learn much about the depths and the dynamics of God’s creation. All of creation’s history unfolds with God’s presence and by God’s power.
So, Jesus thus held up before his disciples a simple mustard seed and said that this will eventually change into something quite wonderful – as will everything else that God has created. We live in a reality that is part of a great growing cosmos. Through Jesus, our great teacher, we know part of its story.
It started as a tiny “seed” of matter and energy. In that “seed” was great potential, promising possibilities that we are now witnesses of because we exist! We seek to know as much as we can about this great growing reality, but we will never know it all – at least in this life. Here, however, we can know that we are moving ahead – despite some seemingly negative aspects of our lives. We are God’s developing seeds of “the work of God’s hands.” And remember that “eye has not seen nor has ear heard” of the full wonders of God’s creative love.
©David M. Thomas, PhD