CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 24 August 2019

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Upon awaking we look at the ripe ears

Jesus narrates a parable of the small seeds that grow into large trees to signify the growth of the kingdom of God. 

In the parable, Jesus is anxious to emphasise one thing: the irresistible force of the seed that, when thrown into the ground, grows by itself. The time for man to stop working comes after the planting season (vv. 27-28). Days and nights follow and the farmer keeps watch without being able to intervene in the growth. It is useless to do something, to be restless or worried, the process in place is no longer dependent on him. He should do nothing but wait. In fact, in silence and in an almost imperceptible way, the miracle starts: the seed sprouts from the earth.

 The assimilation of the gospel message is not immediate; man’s work of inner transformation takes days and years. However, once it has penetrated into the heart, the word of Christ sets up an unstoppable dynamism, although slow. 

 The message of the parable is addressed especially to the discouraged, who expect immediate results. If they are certain of having announced the authentic message of Christ, if they have not confused it with the wisdom of this world, if they have not enfeebled the explosive force with the addition of a pinch of good human sense, they must cultivate the deep certainty that the fruits will be abundant. 

  The second parable (vv. 30-32) is about a small seed becoming a tree.

It is this amazing contrast between the smallness of the beginnings and the greatness of
the results that Jesus seeks to highlight the parable of the mustard seed that, according to popular opinion, was the smallest of all seeds. The wonder stemmed from the realisation that,  an almost invisible grain, sprouts and grows, in one season, into a shrub that even today along the shores of Lake Galilee can reach three feet tall. The seed of the kingdom of God is always small and devoid of the glory of this world; the effects it produces exceeds all expectations. 

The parable wants to infuse joy and optimism. One day the wonders worked by God will appear to all through those who, like his Son, will make themselves meek and humble servants of all.

 Of the entire Christian message, this is certainly the most difficult to digest. It is no wonder that not everyone can understand it. Nay more it remains an unresolved enigma, not because they do not understand its meaning, but because it is humanly absurd and inconceivable that by becoming smaller, one looks great before God.

 λ Father Fernando Armellini
Claretian Publications