Johannine Hours



Mark 4:26-29

June 1997
MARK 4:26-29

Several times, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God with the growth of a seed. He sees in this phenomenon of nature an image of the dynamism of the love which is his life. The sown seed, small and vulnerable as it is, will bear fruit in an incomprehensible manner. In the same way, the word of Christ meets us in the deepest part of ourselves and transforms us. And in the same way again, self-giving love builds up little by little a communion where everyone finds a place, like the birds of the air in the branches that grow from the grain of mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds (Mark 4,30-32).

The one who sowed the seed began of course by carefully preparing the soil. But as for the growth itself, Jesus insists on the indispensible attitude of trust: "He does not know how". While the seed is germinating and growing, it is not the moment to measure the depth of the roots or to verify the presence of the grain in the ear. The succession of transformations escapes us. Jesus mentions only five which affect the grain during the process of growth. But in our lives, how many transformations are there, impossible to predict or to perceive? The Kingdom of God, the presence of Christ in our lives, becomes apparent in this multitude of transformations - unexpected, imperceptible, and often inexplicable.

What matters, Jesus says, is to be able to perceive the fruit when it is ripe. All through the Gospel, Jesus has his eyes fixed, as it were, on the fruit, the reaping, the grape-harvest. Close to the soil, he knows the joy of the harvest, but he sees there something more than the blessing of God. The reaper is also the one who gives meaning to everything that has remained hidden, who reveals the best, even in the place where the weeds seemed to have gained the upper hand (Mt 13,29-30). This is also the way in which Jesus sees the mission of the disciples: "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field" (Lk 10:2).
What transformations in my life give me confidence that the grain grows "all by itself"?
What helps me to see that which is good, that which gives meaning to my life and to the lives of others?

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