Jesus also said,
“In the kingdom of God it is like this: a man scatters seed upon the soil. Whether he is asleep or awake, be it day or night, the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how. The soil produces of itself: first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when it is ripe for harvesting, they take the sickle for the cutting: the time for the harvest has come.”
Jesus also said,
“What is the kingdom of God like? To what shall we compare it? It is like a mustard seed which, when sown, is the smallest of all the seeds scattered upon the soil. But once sown, it grows up and becomes the largest of the plants in the garden, and even grows branches so big, that the birds of the air can take shelter in its shade.”
Jesus used many such stories, in order to proclaim the word to them in a way that they would be able to understand. He would not teach them without parables; but privately to his disciples he explained everything.
Driving through stretches of agricultural land, I saw modern farms yielding hectares of fruits and vegetables that will eventually make their way to supermarkets. It made me wonder if people who buy them are aware of the journey of the little seed that ends up on their tables as food. The farmer in Mark’s Gospel does not know how the seeds grow. All he does is prepare the soil and sow the seeds. Today farming is a science meant to produce high yields. This includes using high technology in the process of preparing, planting, and calculating the amount of yield. But the kingdom of God is not like that. The growth of the kingdom cannot be controlled and calculated in a scientific way. The biblical farmer simply “scatters” the seeds across the land trusting that at a proper time, the full grains come and can be harvested. Like the littlest mustard seed that grows into the largest plant, our Christian faith when it takes hold of us grows in a mysterious way, making us fruitful in the service of God and others. The greatest mystery is that God does his work in us without any help from us.
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