Plant Today! Reap Tomorrow! | Word from the Shepherd No. 133 | 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time B

11th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B
Eze. 17:22-24; 2 Cor. 5:6-10; Mk. 4:26-34

A group of tourists were visiting a picturesque village. They were walking by an old man sitting beside a fence. In a rather patronising way, one tourist asked, “Were any great men born in this village?”
The old man replied, “Nope, only babies.”
There are no instant heroes–whether in this world or in the kingdom of God. The planting takes place today. The reaping happens tomorrow.

Different people view the Kingdom of God differently.
To many, it is an after-life reality, something other-worldly.
Some picture it as the perfect and the ideal setting and situation- a utopia.
Of course, it is an institution, some may say, a new government-a theocratic nation.
Then, we have Jesus who said, “Don’t look here nor there! The Kingdom of God is in your midst.”

The Kingdom is within us, planted by God. It is His initiative. Ezekiel called it a sprig or a low tree, while Jesus named it a mustard seed. And Jesus described it by beginning with these words “This what the Kingdom of God is like”. It is a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds. It is mysterious, growing in our midst and is not fully understood. Sometimes it’s growth or effect is not detectable. For many it is slow and discouraging. Most often, the Kingdom begins insignificantly, no big bangs and happens in situations or places that may seem unpromising to us. The seed refers to the little things, little initiatives, little gestures, little rays of hope, little acts of kindness and the little god-spaces we create.
Paul’s word of hope was a spark that uplifted the community in Corinth during their time of turmoil, tension and dissent. The spark made them see the spiritual priorities in their lives; walk in confidence in Christ, the seen and the unseen.

The Kingdom has the potential to become something big. Its large branches provided shade and rest for all creatures. The Kingdom within welcomes, promotes, protects and integrates. It includes and builds bridges.

The Kingdom is sparked by the life-changing Spirit. Like the farmer, seeing the sprouting and growing, many would admit “that they do not know” how it can be. Invisible activities between the sowing and harvesting times, were taking place. In spite of great strides, great expertise and great advancements in science and technology, yet we do not fully understand the hidden, the unseen and the invisible life giver. It is mysterious and miraculous. Much spade-work, weeding and watering may have gone into the work, but it is the Spirit that gives life, growth and change. It is the same Spirit that awakes our hearts to loving desire for sharing and communion.

The Kingdom of God is the transformed presence,
that need the right ground to interact or to spark with;
that need the hidden life-giving Spirit to initiate new life;
that need to burst forth ; and
grow into a welcoming presence to all creatures.
The Kingdom welcomes, promotes, protects and integrates.
Take the seed of self; blesses the LORD of the miracle; be broken by the Spirit to become a new thing; and welcome all to gift of self.