When was the last time you thought about the Kingdom of God and farming? Living amidst the farms of “God’s country” here in southwest Wisconsin, we can all relate to the parable in today’s Gospel (Mark 4:26-34), as Jesus Christ teaches about His Kingdom. In the parable, Jesus first compares the Kingdom of God to the planting of wheat or corn seed and its growth, a part of God’s miraculous creation. Then Jesus describes a mustard seed and its growth. While we might tend to focus on the finished product, Jesus reminds us of the process – it’s a parable, so there’s a deeper meaning than just plant growth – the parable is pointing to how we grow in communion with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In our relationship with God, we might get more excited about the “finished product” than about the process. We might consider such people as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Saint John Paul II or Blessed Carlo Acutis, and marvel at how they lived so heroically the virtues of faith, hope and love – living role models of the life Jesus portrayed in His parables – the full grain of wheat or corn ripe and mature and ready for the harvest. Still, as inspiring as the saints are, they didn’t become such beautiful role models of the Kingdom overnight.
Holiness happens one moment at a time, by God’s grace, not all at once (except for the Blessed Virgin Mary, as God gave her that grace fully at the moment of her conception). And none of us is totally in charge of the process, including Saint Mary, the Blessed Mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God is the one who guides and shapes all the aspects of our lives, helping us to live in His love and grace, if we let Him. It’s amazing to realize that it is God Himself who supplies us with the desire and the ability to fulfill His plan for us. Our part is simply and profoundly to follow God’s directions, moment by moment, step by step, not worrying or anxious, but trusting in God’s providence and grace and the fact that our purpose in life is to be in the Kingdom of Heaven.
If you, for example, think that the Lord is calling you to speak and act in a certain way, then do so, while you also bear the good fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity). In other words, proclaim the Truth with love – the Truth that Jesus Christ is God, about His gift of life, the dignity of the human person made in His image, the Eucharist, marriage and family. If we’re doing our best and it’s not all working out according to our plans, then be patient for the final product. Remember, God’s plan is what’s important. He is at work, bringing His plan for our life to completion. Offer Him your gifts, talents, joys, stresses, anxieties and fears, and allow yourself to smile – for God, the Master Farmer, is working everything together for your good! Lord Jesus, help me to let You be in charge. Help me to be your prayerful witness to faith, hope and love. I trust that You are at work in me, guiding, shaping and conforming me to Your Sacred Heart, by Your grace, through Your Church, Word, Sacraments, communion of saints and daily prayer.
With peace and prayers in Christ,