Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
January 30th, 2009

Mary Haynes Kuhlman

Theology Department
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In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses nice agricultural images to teach “how it is with the Kingdom of God.”  What does “Kingdom of God” mean to us?  While “Kingdom” may sound old-fashioned, I think of God’s power in our world, God’s will for our world. Believing in God (Faith), believing in our salvation by and in the Son of God (Christian Faith), we pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.”   And we have Hope.

We certainly need Hope in this world, so full of natural disasters from earthquakes and hurricanes to floods and ice storms – and of human evil:  terrorism, war against civilians, murder and other crimes, fraud of all kinds. – and of other misfortunes:  our current economic woes, accident, illness, loneliness, bereavement. With our instant access to the bad news of each day, we may need Hope more than ever, Faith and Hope together.

And so, for me, today’s readings are about Hope, not a promise of instant salvation or total security in this world..  Bad things may happen; we are called to be faithful and Hope.  In the excerpt from the Epistle to the Hebrews, Paul says his followers have “endured a great contest of suffering” and need “endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.”  In the Psalm we sing our faith that salvation comes from the Lord, who is our “refuge in times of distress.”  And both of the Gospel’s little parables, about small seeds growing into a fine harvest or a great tree, promise that God’s Kingdom will come – but in God’s time.  Believe and Hope!

I have long been longing for Hope.  I have a degree from Brown University, whose motto is “In Deo Speramus” – “In God We Hope.”  Brown, and several of my relatives, are located in Rhode Island – officially “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”  The state’s motto is, simply, “Hope.”  On the other hand, as I have grown older, I have found that Faith is easier, but Hope is harder.

As Jesus explains “Kingdom of Heaven” with the image of little seeds growing into a bountiful harvest, I hear a lovely line which I remember as part of a Thanksgiving hymn in my childhood, beginning “Come ye thankful people come / Raise the song of harvest home!”   The second verse includes,

Wheat and tares together sown
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade, and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear…

Guessing that “tares” means “weeds,” today I’m thinking the Gospel image applies also to human life -- that a baby’s marvelous little life is the Blade (or stalk), a young adult is the Ear (or “head” of the grain), and a older man or woman, having experienced, enjoyed, and achieved – and, yes, suffered – a full human life, is the Full Corn (or grain)   And  I  Hope that, in this world suffering from so much human evil and misunderstanding, our own very varied species may be only at the “ear” stage – or perhaps even just the “blade” stage of our history on this lovely little planet.  We can Hope that in God’s good time we will grow into the “full grain” of God’s plan for us.   

Today I pray that both Faith and Hope may keep growing in my mind and heart, so that I may know and see and feel and share God’s LOVE.  Thy Kingdom Come!

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