As Jesus walked through Galilean fields, he often used what was at hand to teach and illustrate his message. So it’s no surprise he spoke of seeds and grain, the growing cycle, the seasons, and the harvest. Today we hear two short parables of the Kingdom, both based on small seeds growing into something great. Jesus is saying God’s kingdom is like that.
Living in metro D.C., we are rather divorced from these basic forces of life on earth. I was back in my home state of Nebraska recently, and reminded of the huge fecundity of the land – how it is the source of life itself, food for all of us. For the people around Jesus, it was a livelihood for many, and its produce was precious. Pain and want were frequent visitors.
In that world, Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom of God was a cause for hope: enough food for everybody, release from social and political oppression and violence, and the knowledge that we are loved by God – not just the wealthy righteous Pharisees, but also the poor, imperfect prostitutes, tax collectors, and other struggling souls – sinners all, like us.
We think of fathers today – our own fathers, living or dead, and those of us who father others. As a father, I feel a strong need to provide for my children, to give them all they need to grow, to be healthy and happy. I imagine God feels this way about all of us, God’s own children.
Whenever we can bring love and hope to a neighbor, we participate in that Kingdom of God. When we share our wealth so others have enough, we are building that Kingdom. When we stand up against the bigotry and indifference that are rampant in our society today, we are standing up for Jesus. JBM