for Sunday, June 17, 2018
Parables! Jesus is often speaking to us in parables. Often we don't spend enough time thinking about the parables, about the images that He gives us. We need to spend some time with the Lord, listening to His words, and wondering what the words mean. When we do this, we begin to understand Jesus and the Kingdom.
The first reading today is from the Prophet Ezekiel. We have many images in this reading. However, the message is clear: "All the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom." The message is simple: God is God and we humans are not God and cannot control our world or anything in it. We have the appearance of control, but the world spins out of control when we humans no longer respect God nor respect the ways of God for us. This has happened over and over in human history and we humans seem incapable of learning the lesson: follow the Lord and life is very good! Abandon the Lord and life becomes unbearable.
The second reading is from the Second Letter to the Corinthians. The small passage that we read today repeats the lesson from the Prophet Ezekiel: "We walk by faith, not by sight." When we walk by faith, we listen to the Word of God and strive to form our lives by that Word. If we walk by sight, we no longer believe in the Lord because the present world tells us that God is not necessary, is only a foolish thought of humans, and that life is much better without God.
Once again we are confronted with the truth: With God there is mercy! Without God, all becomes useless and without meaning. The only meaning without God is the human being. The human being is always fickle, always seeking its own good, always looking for please and wealth and power. As our world continues to abandon God, we can expect worse things yet to happen.
Today's Gospel is from Saint Mark and brings us back to parables and images. What is the Kingdom of God like, Jesus asks? Well, it is something that we cannot control. It is like planting a field and not understanding why the plants grow. The Kingdom of God is all around us and is within us—but we have a choice to recognize it or to ignore it. Whether we recognize the Kingdom or ignore the Kingdom, the process of the Kingdom is still at work: time is given to us to give ourselves to God.
The Kingdom of God is very small and that is why so many cannot see it. Small. Not small in size but small in its beginnings within us and within our communities. Yet it can grow and become so powerful. God never forces Himself upon us. We can always invite God to grow within us and within our communities.
When we see the grass grow or when we see a tree grow, we can think of the Kingdom of God! When we see birds fly in the air, we can think of the Kingdom of God. God is always at work and always loving us. May we open our eyes and our hearts to Him.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Ezekiel 17.22-24
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5.6-10
Gospel: Mark 4.26-34
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: