Year B: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel: Mark 4: 26-34
TAs we know, Jesus used parables to try to help people to catch glimpses of what the Kingdom of God is like. His great gift was to use everyday things - people were familiar with them but were taught to see things in a new light.
A farming people would have seen the seasonal miracle of seeds being sown and plants growing - seemingly of their own accord.
The mustard seed, the smallest of seeds, growing into the largest of trees providing shelter for birds.
Everyday things that people could hold in their hands take their imaginations into something far greater. Though short, the parables have layers of meaning and give people food for thought long beyond their telling. It is possible that every time people sowed seeds, the parable would be brought to mind and people would gain a new insight or simply marvel that the seed in their hand was a symbol of the eternal Kingdom.
This is a good time of year to get out into the garden or further afield - or contemplate trees and plants from indoors. Simply take time considering the seed from which they grew - the years that have passed since then - the form of the tree - any birds that are there, perhaps having nested in its branches.
Allow your thoughts and imagination to see how the growth of the trees and plants speaks to you of the Kingdom and its growth and development in the world.
There is no right or wrong answer. One of the beauties of parables is that each time you read or reflect on them, you are likely to come to a different insight - taking you deeper into the mystery of the Kingdom.
Sometimes, it is helpful to read a commentary or guide to parables - as the Gospel says, Jesus did take his disciples apart to explain the meaning to them privately. Reading the insights of another can often feed and enrich our own or open up a new train of thought which can lead us on to unexpected ideas or challenges.
Reading and studying alongside time spent contemplating and reflection open up the parables and, indeed, the whole Word of God. We become aware of the richness of its message and increasingly find that it becomes a lamp to our feet - and a guide for our lives.
What does it mean for me?
© 2006 Wellspring