Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

Eleventh Sunday


Mk 4:26-34

"Night and day the seed is sprouting and growing ..."

Though he was known as “the carpenter’s son” Jesus grew up in the rich agricultural land of Galilee and was familiar with the work and ways of farmers. Not surprisingly this background provides plenty of images to illustrate his teaching. The farmer, he says today, plants the seed and gets on with life day after day and of itself the tiny begins to grow, seed puts out first a shoot, then the ear, then the full grain, and so gets ready for harvest. How it happens the farmer does not know. It is a hidden, somewhat mysterious process of growth.

Here, says Jesus, we have a picture of the hidden growth of God’s kingdom; that is not a place but the reality of the reign of God’s love in the world. It is happening all around us, and often we do not see it or know it is happening. Jesus is not talking of some future, other-worldly spiritual place called heaven. He is speaking if God’s reign happening here and now in this world; the kingdom he said is among you. It is to be found in the good and positive acts of love and of service, of truth, justice and freedom; in acts of reconciliation and peace. These are fruits of the Spirit at work in and around us, in the lives of ordinary people – even if they themselves do not know it as such!

Jesus does not call on us to abandon the world, but to engage with the world to promote the continued growth, however mysterious and gradual, of the kingdom of God. It is expressed in the prayer he taught us: “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.