Jesus reveals the mysterious reality of the Kingdom of God in parables. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by practicing the Virtue of Gratitude so he can gratefully do God’s will to build His Church and by growing in the Virtue of Hope so he can reject despair and always have a sure hope in God’ Divine Providence.
3rd Week in Ordinary Time – Friday – Mk 4:26-34
Continuing to reveal the Kingdom of God, Jesus offers two parables that use familiar agriculture imagery to describe how God works through Divine Providence to build His Kingdom through His Holy Catholic Church.
The Parable of the Growing Seed describes how God mysteriously builds His Kingdom in the world. A farmer scatters seeds but does not know why the “dead” seed sprouts or how it grows and he cannot control the seed’s growth process. Likewise, the establishment and growth of the Kingdom of God is a divine work which men cannot fully comprehend; men can cooperate or not, effecting themselves and others, but cannot hasten nor stop the growth of God’s Divine Providence. Ultimately the harvest comes, and the harvest represents every man’s unavoidable Judgment by God.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed builds on the common rabbinical reference of the mustard seed as the smallest seed. Jesus describes that the mustard seed grows into the greatest of shrubs, becoming as large as a tree in which many birds can nest. The parable builds upon Old Testament references to a coming kingdom that would be a great tree that gathers many nations (Ezek 31:2-13; Dan 4:17-18). Like the mustard tree provides a home and savory seeds which feed the birds, God’s Holy Catholic Church becomes home to multitudes (birds are an allusion to the Gentile nations), feeding them with most savory of food, the Eucharist. To an individual, the parable reveals while most men start with a small faith, with time and persistence of prayer (Lk 11:1-13) and God’s grace, every soul can grow into sainthood; sadly, many reject God and spend eternity in Hell.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be impressed by Jesus, the Divine Prophet, as He crafts these ingenious parables: Divine Knowledge, Jesus confirms the Truth of the supernatural reality of the Kingdom of God; using impeccable Logic (a part of Reason) in crafting the parables, He gives men a rational basis of Hope in the incomprehensible coming of the Kingdom; by His use of Pathos (a part of Reason) He moves men’s hearts by using analogies common to human experience (the mysterious reality of the growth of crops) men can comprehend.
Gratefully do God’s Will to build His Church
Realize: Just as God sustains the mysterious growth of seeds, so too does God supernaturally call and equip ordinary men to build His Kingdom through His Holy Catholic Church; every Catholic man should be awed and give God thanks that he has been given the great privilege, honor and blessing to be a Catholic man.
Believe: Reflect upon the mystery of the Holy Catholic Church (CCC 748-780).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Gratitude (a part of Justice) so I grow in gratitude that You allow me to be a Catholic man, I fervently seek the work You command me to do, and I zealously respond to build Your Holy Catholic Church.
Reject despair, and hope in Divine Providence
Realize: Dwelling upon the darkness of the growing evil in the world and the turmoil in the Church can lead to despair (a sin against Hope); every Catholic man can remain firm in hope because God has Divine Providence over everyone and everything.
Believe: Reflect upon the Sin of Despair (CCC 2091) and the Virtue of Hope (CCC 1817-1821).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Providence, help me build the Virtue of Hope so I frequently remember Your promise to build Your Kingdom, I do not despair of the growing darkness, and joyously live, knowing Your Divine Providence will easily prevail over all evil.