Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
The final lines of the award-winning film biography of Mahatma Gandhi have always been a source of encouragement for me. As his ashes are being scattered over the water, we hear Gandhi’s voice: “Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Think of it: always.”
I don’t know whether the movie gives us an accurate quote from Gandhi or not, but they certainly build on Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel. There, he is giving us two parables about the Kingdom, both from the natural world. One tells how a seed, once planted by the farmer, sprouts and grows without our doing anything, and yielding a harvest. The other is the familiar description of the mustard seed, which though the smallest of seeds, becomes the largest of plants.
The power of the Kingdom is what Gandhi is describing in the film’s closing words: “…the way of truth and love has always won.” Although he was a Hindu, Gandhi knew and respected Christ’s teaching. And like the great Indian leader, when we are tempted to despair at the oppression or violence in our world—whether on the global level or in our personal lives, we must remember that the Kingdom’s truth will prevail, and the love of God has overcome all, in Jesus Christ.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In the first reading (Ezekiel 17:22-24), what was message given to Ezeckiel by the Lord God?
What was the Lord God about to do? What would that mean for all trees?
In this week's second reading (2Cor 5: 6-10), Paul talks about ‘. . .walking by faith, not by sight.” What’s the difference?
Why does Paul mean when he talks about leaving the body and going home to the Lord?
Why does Paul say about appearing before the judgment seat of Christ?
According to the Gospel (Mk 4:26-34), what does Jesus tell the crowds about the Kingdom of God?
Does the farmer understand everything about how the seed planted will?
What is the smallest seed look like once it is fully grown?
Did you ever plant any seeds and watch them grow? If not try it for yourself.
Plant some mustard seeds either in your garden or in a pot. You can get some tips for how to best grow the plants from this article.
Go outside, sit beneath a large tree and dwell in its shade. You might want to take a notebook with you and do some reflection.