FROM A TINY SEED

The trees that provide the oxygen we breathe and the lumber we use for building homes, the grasses that turn the hillsides green and feed our livestock, the vegetation that produces the fruits and vegetables that nourish our bodies, the plants whose flowers beautify our homes and express our feelings, all have something in common.

They all sprang from tiny seeds. Seeds that were sown by humans, scattered by animals, blown on the wind, or washed in by flowing water.

In an almost miraculous way, those seeds produce the living plants that cover our world. Even a redwood tree more than 300 feet tall was once only an insignificant seed.

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 4:26-34), Jesus tells two parables dealing with seeds. He speaks of a man scattering seed in the field and he mentions mustard seed as being “the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.”

In both parables, the seeds sprout and bring forth wondrous growth. The seed scattered on the ground produces a large harvest of grain, and the mustard seed “becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that birds of the sky can dwell in it shade.”

Jesus tells those parables to teach us “how it is with the kingdom of God.”

Jesus sows the seeds of God’s kingdom as he calls people to turn away from sin and to let God’s will be the guide of their lives. As we pray in the Our Father, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Since the time of Jesus, the number of people who have heard and accepted that message has grown tremendously. That has happened because of the action of God who plants the seeds, gives the growth, touches the human heart, and works through his Church.

Sunday’s Gospel might lead us to consider the people and the situations that God has used to plant the seed of faith in our personal lives. It may have been our parents, grandparents, or other relatives. It may have been our parish priest, a religion teacher, or other persons who impressed us by the way they lived as followers of Christ.

The Lord may have sown the seed of faith in our lives during a moment of unexpected joy, during a time of personal crisis, or as we watched the birth of a child, or as someone spoke about a personal journey of faith.

God’s kingdom, God’s presence and action in our lives, happens not because of what we do, but because of what God does. The fact we come to Mass, that we pray, even the fact that we receive Looking to Sunday, are all ways that the Lord nourishes our faith so that his will – his kingdom – will blossom in our lives.

This Sunday, Jesus reminds us that God plants the seed. God nourishes that seed so that it may grow and develop and bring forth a harvest of goodness.

It is a wonder to consider what comes forth from a tiny seed. But it is even more wonderous to consider what can come forth from the seed of faith planted by God in the human heart.

© 2021 Rev. Thomas B. Iwanowski