CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 October 2018

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Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Upon awakening we look at the ripe ears

Can the growth of God’s Kingdom be accelerated? Jesus responds to this question with a short parable. He draws our attention to the time of growth. The time for man to stop working comes after the planting season. Days and nights follow and the farmer sleeps and keeps watch without being able to intervene in the growth. It is useless to be restless or worried, the process in place is no longer dependent on him. If he agitates, enters in the field, he will trample and destroy the tender shoots. 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. Who has not heard it remains the same. 
 
Discouragement is one of the most common temptations of the apostles of the Gospel. They are often battered if they do not immediately notice some concrete results of their preaching. 
 
The message of the parable is addressed especially to them. If they are certain of having announced the authentic message of Christ, they must cultivate the deep certainty that the fruits will be abundant. The season and the abundance of the harvest does not depend on them, but on the ground and God. (1 Corinthians 3:6). 
 
The maturation process of the plant should be respected. Whoever wants to speed it runs the risk of getting caught by frenzy, substituting his own action for that of the Spirit, using unfair methods of coercion and psychological blackmail, without respecting freedom of the persons. Parents, educators, leaders of the Christian communities should be warned of this over enthusiastic aggression despite good intentions. 
 
It is important, to “sleep”, that is, to know how to wait, stay calm, sit and contemplate how the seed sprouts and grows by itself amazingly. 
 
The second parable contrasts between the smallness of the beginnings and the greatness of the results that Jesus seeks to highlight. The mustard seed from 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.
 
With this parable, Jesus did not intend to make predictions about the future triumphs of the Church, but rather to emphasise the miracle of the growth of the Kingdom. The seed of the kingdom of God is always small and devoid of the glory of this world; the effects it produces exceeds, instead, all expectations 
 
The image of the birds that nest is often found in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 31:6), (Psalms 84:4),  (Psalms 91:1). It represents those who, having given full confidence in the word of God shelter in the safety offered by the Most High. 
 
The parable is an invitation to consider the reality with the eyes of God. To change judging successes and failures based on wealth, honour, prestige and fame. Remember, Jesus overturned the scale of these values: “Whoever becomes lowly like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). 
 
● Father Fernando Armellini CMF
Claretian Publications
     https://sundaycommentaries.wordpress.com/2018/06/06/11th-sunday-in-ordinary-time-year-b-june-17-2018/
Translated by Father John Ladesma SDB
Abridged by Father Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF