Reflection: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Ez.17:22-24; Ps.91; 2nd Reading – 2Cor.5:6-10; Gospel – Mk.4:26-34]


Jesus, in today’s gospel, speaks about the Kingdom of God. Unless one is ready to look at it with the eyes of faith then, like many other themes in his teachings, the Kingdom of God is and will remain a mystery.  Even for those who have accepted Jesus and his teaching, it still remains a mystery – so much so that Jesus himself had to explain and tell the crowds what it is like. For Jesus, the Kingdom of God is like a seed thrown on the land.  Jesus specifically compares the Kingdom of God to a seed that becomes wheat or to a small mustard seed that becomes a huge tree.

We are told that Jesus used many parables to speak about the Word to his disciples … so far as they were able to understand. Jesus knew that this teaching was not easy for his listeners and therefore used parables and other ways and means to try and help them understand what he wanted to say.  Furthermore we are specifically told that he could not speak to them except in parables.  However, we are told, that Jesus explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.  His disciples were his intimate followers and therefore they have accepted him and his teaching … and so they were in a better position to understand Jesus’ teachings.  This is why Jesus explained everything to them.

Having put these premises in place, we can say that the Kingdom of God (for Jesus) is like a seed that becomes a huge crop (such as wheat) or a small seed that becomes a huge tree (such as the mustard shrub).  It is something that passes through many stages in life: stages that helps it to become what it should be … a crop for food … or the biggest shrub to find shelter in. Thus the Kingdom of God is something that has life in it and is made in such a way that it gives life to others as well. It is not something that is static, but something alive. Furthermore, it is something that grows to become food and fruit through which one can have other seeds. As a fully grown tree it also provides shelter as well …

But among all these comparisons in today’s gospel, there is a very important phrase that should not be missed. Let us stop for a moment and take this into consideration. Jesus says that after the man throws the seed on the land: “Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know.” This man does not have to think for or about anything else… except when the time comes for him to “reap because the harvest has come”. So, who is taking care to make this seed grow in such a way that it reaches its purpose? Of course, it is God himself who works in such marvellous ways.

The human being has only to throw the seed on the land.  He was given this seed by the author of life himself. The individual has to do with it what it was created for: sow it and let it grow. This same individual then has to just wait for the time of ‘not knowing how’… and let the seed grow, taking care that it grows well to reach its purpose in life. Once it has grown, then it can give life or shelter accordingly. Everything takes place under the care of the Father in heaven.

“Lord, quite often we want to do things according to how we think they should be done and we do not let you work and do what you deem is best for us. Give us the wisdom that we need to be able to do our part, and the humility to let you do the rest. Thank you Lord!”


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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