for Sunday, June 14, 2015
We cannot understand our Lord Jesus until we begin to hear Him speak in parables and to use the Scriptures in ways to which most of us are no longer accustomed. So in order to understand Jesus and His message, we have to work perhaps a little harder than the people of His own time, who were accustomed to these ways of speaking. We have stories in our own cultures and need only to think of the stories that have been told to us. Some of us are familiar with farming and growing crops.
All of us can understand that a small seed might produce an enormous plant. That is the image of the kingdom of God that we find in the Gospel today. What are we supposed to make of it? Perhaps we can think that if we nurture the faith within us, it might grow. If we don't nurture faith, generally it does not grow. If we nurture faith a lot, it can grow into a might plant within us.
Compare this image with that of the first reading, from the Prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel tells us that God can take life from anywhere and transplant it and it can grow into something mighty. The image that Ezekiel uses is taking the top of a cedar tree and transplanting it and watching that top grow into a complete tree, even a mighty and enormous tree.
Saint Paul in the second reading today, from the Second Letter to the Corinthians, reminds us that our hope is really in the life to come and not in this life. All of us love this life. That is normal. But we must learn to walk by faith rather than by the attractions of this world, the sight of this world. We must begin to think in a new way and live in a new way because the Kingdom is here in our midst now.
All the readings today speak of this capacity of God to make something out of nothing. They also speak of our response to God's work in our lives. We can choose to walk by faith or we can choose to live just in this world. If we walk by faith, then God can do mighty things in us. Not making wealthy or powerful or even having lots of things. Rather God can let the Spirit change us from within so that our life of faith because the center of our life and we begin to walk only in the way of the Lord.
To follow Jesus Christ is always a challenge for each one of us. Sometimes we don't spend enough time with the Lord and so we forget his daily invitation to live with Him and to receive His Spirit and to live for the Father. Instead, we get caught up in this world and our values become of this world. The readings today invite us to live in a new way because we know that the Lord can transform us if we hand ourselves over to Him.
My sisters and brothers, we are invited to make even a small choice today to choose the ways of the Lord.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Ezekiel 17.22-24
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5.6-10
Gospel: Mark 4.26-34
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: