Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021: Bulletin Column, Art

Dear Followers of Jesus,

Today’s gospel, Mark 4:26-34, invites us deeper into an image of the Kingdom of God. A small seed becomes a place of shelter, protection and new life for others. If we examine this image of seed as our hearts and lives, we shall awaken to new growth and perspective and even imagination about our lives of faith. 

I often hear parents tell me that the summer growth spurts of their children are such a wonderous gift of life to them. They say, “our children are growing like weeds.” Our children take on a life of their own, their own identity, their own talents and gifts, and it all happens very quickly, as if during the night such growth happens. Parents seem so delighted that their children become what God is inviting them to be. For some parents, of course, this is a real time of adjustment to let them flourish and to not smother such gifts. 

I admit that I also love to see young people with a beginner’s mind and a kernel of faith. In the riches of their own hearts, added with naivete, and much grace, young people begin to form a trust that the seed of hope given to them by God will flourish in the world. I adore watching the seed of faith grow and blossom into a life steady on the earth in trust and love. 

The seed of faith given to our young needs help to flourish. We all have to trust that the Kingdom of God is at hand in ways we can’t even imagine. We cannot grow bitter or angry as elders when we see the gifts of our young people change the world. Allowing a tree to grow takes patience, tenderness and good will. This also takes on our part, the ability to trust God and the next generation. Learning to trust our children is never easy, at least that is what parents tell me since they always want to be the parent of a child whom they have raised and loved. 

This image of the Kingdom of God is beautiful and offers us a garden of hope if we can learn to trust in life itself. The Kingdom can sprout up in the most unexpected places. The Kingdom is here even when we are so often blind to the process of life. The Kingdom changes us and what it offers us is a new way of seeing ourselves and the world. This gospel today invites us also into a new way of being in the world. The Kingdom reveals everything, even the smallest seed can grow and influence the world in so many ways. The Kingdom leads to truth, to fidelity, to solid hope, to a life of gratitude. All we have to do is stand back and watch it happen and trust in God who is always restoring life and hope in our world. 

Please take some time this week to pray for our children and our children’s children. In doing so, we may even see hope spring up in our lives fashioning within us a place where the Kingdom of God will surprise us. 

“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants…”

God give you peace,

Fr. Ron Raab, CSC, Pastor

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