“Of its own accord the land yields fruit.”
I am in awe of nature. After a long winter, I have been known to act like a child at the sight of budding trees and blooming flowers. I am always amazed when the snow seems to disappear, the flowers are in bloom, and the grass changes from dull brown to vibrant green. Last spring, I decided to take a picture of the tree outside of my window each afternoon. Although the change was minimal from day to day, it amazed me to flip from the first picture of a leafless tree in February to the last of a tree on the verge of full leaves in May. It may have been a slow process, but the leaves grew without any poking or prodding; it was their very nature that caused them to grow, just as they do every year. We’re all so used to plant growth that it’s easy to forget what a miracle it is!
In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses parables of the growth of a seed to describe the Kingdom of God. In both parables, seeds, once scattered and sown, grow on their own accord. In the first parable, the scattered seeds yield fruit, and Jesus proclaims that the harvest has come. In the second, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to the smallest of seeds: the mustard seed. When this seed is sown, it grows to be one of the largest plants, a plant which provides shade for the birds of the sky. Jesus seems to imply that like a mustard seed, the Kingdom of God has humble beginnings on Earth, but will soon grow to be larger than all else. We cannot control the growth of a seed; likewise, we cannot control the growth of the Kingdom of God – it is natural! The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem began this faith that we call Christianity, and it continues to grow today, providing shade for many.
Today’s reading challenges us to find the potential and the beauty in the little things. Just as a mustard seed grows into a large, beautiful plant, the smallest of actions and occurrences may be the beginnings of something much bigger. The Kingdom of God exists in the smallest of seeds: a child’s laugh, a sunshine-y day, a “hello” to a stranger, a sharing of one’s faith story, a sharing of a meal, an acknowledgement of someone’s humanity – the list goes on. Where can we find the Kingdom of God today? Let us foster its growth and find comfort in its shade!
“It springs up and becomes the largest of plants…” -Mark 4:32