Speak Lord: Of the harvest of life

Harvest sjw

The gospel reading today, the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, speaks of the Kingdom of God. And, inevitably, it does so in terms of metaphor.

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’

He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the 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 the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’

Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.

Mark 4:26-34

The Kingdom of God is, very nearly, that greater than which nothing can be conceived.

Yet Jesus offers as comparisons the abundant harvest which is gifted to the (maybe) lazy farmer (having sown the seed, he seems to have spent the growing season chilling out!); and to the weeds that provide plenty of ground cover to the birds (ever seen a mustard tree?)

So what is Jesus urging us to? A recognition that God’s goodness is great and generous; that  his goodness is provided not to impress but to benefit, and, whatever our deficiencies, when we know the goodness of what God offers, we will move ourselves to receive what is offered.

  • How well do you trust in the goodness of God and his faithfulness?
  • Where in the less well-regarded do you find signs of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God?

Photograph of figure of the Risen Christ by Michael Clark and Tabernacle surround by Stephen Foster, Church of Our Lady, St John’s Wood. (C) 2004, Allen Morris.

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