Friday, January 29, 2010

The Silent Growth of God's Kingdom (Friday, Week III in Ordinary Time, Mark 4:26-34)

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 landand would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow,he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit,first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,for the harvest has come.” He said, “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 plantsand puts forth large branches,so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
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Today’s reading contains what are called the “Kingdom sayings” of Jesus. These are the words of Jesus describing what the Kingdom of God is like. Scattered throughout all four gospels in the New Testament, a common theme runs through all of them—and that is that the Kingdom of God has two very important characteristics that make it different from all earthly kingdoms and powers.

First, its growth is quiet and not often perceived. Whereas earthly kingdoms are born out of much turmoil and strife, the Kingdom of God grows quietly, for it grows in the hearts of ordinary men and women like ourselves. It is like a small seed that God plants in our hearts and which we nourish and nurture. It is all the small acts of goodness, kindness, love, care, compassion and concern that we do. They are often unseen and unnoticed, but they are the greatest foundations of God’s Kingdom on earth.

Second, while God’s Kingdom, made up of all the acts of love and goodness in the world, is quiet and imperceptible, it lasts forever—unlike all other earthly Kingdoms and powers which come and go. Our acts of goodness, even if they are as small as mustard seeds—as Jesus says in the gospel, have effects that last for all eternity.

This is why Christians must never hesitate to do good, even if they’re not big, or even if they won’t produce big or grand results. As far as Christ is concerned, every single act of goodness is a great contribution to the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth. It certainly is a great way to motivate ourselves to always do good.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)