God’s Kingdom

During this pandemic, we can see in social media many pictures of plants grown by people engaged in raising these colorful flowers and beautiful plants in their home gardens. You can even see photos of those plants that are yet to bloom with a caption of how the gardener will feel if one plant doesn’t flower well or is late in blooming. Patience, care and hard work are among the traits needed to raise seeds into bountiful plants.

In the Gospel today, the Lord speaks about the kingdom of God,

It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” (Mk. 4: 26-34)

The farmer plants the seed and slowly it sprouts, grows and yet “knows not how”. We understand that planting and raising plants and trees is a slow process and there are no shortcuts. Starting from a tiny seed, great potential is realized after much watering, caring and shielding from the threats to its existence. This passage reveals that like plants, God’s Kingdom will slowly and gently come into our lives. 

Each of us can grow into somebody much larger than we can ever imagine. Look at your own self, how you have done a great job so far, considering the difficulties and challenges that you’ve went through. This has nothing to do with the degree you’ve achieved, but it’s more on what you do with what you have or what is given to you. More often than not, people who feel that they are part of the least actually end up with accomplishing some of the greatest achievements. Just like the mustard seed. What we have to realize and accept is that the most important element in what we call “success” is not of our own making, but God’s will in making it happen for us. When we let go of our own selfish desires and leave all to God’s care and protection, we can become the majestic tree that He meant us to be. As the prophet Ezekiel said in the First Reading (Ez. 17: 22-24) 

It shall put forth branches and bear fruit, and become a majestic cedar.”

Once in a while the Master Gardner will trim us of our pride and selfishness just as even the biggest trees in the world need to be cut of its leaves from time to time. Trees with the most abundant foliage even have to lose their leaves during winter so that they can bloom brighter in spring. At times we need to go through different challenges and trials in order to gain new mindsets about life. The Lord is telling us that it’s not really about how tall and lush or pretty the tree is that defines whether it is a good one, but it is about its roots and how deep these go down the earth. It is about what they are capable of doing and surviving future storms and weather challenges.

Similarly, it’s not about how important we think we are – it’s about our intentions and reasons behind everything we do. It is about how deeply we are rooted in our faith in Christ so much so we can handle those challenges that come to us. It is also about how we handle success and material wealth. The Lord can endow us with abundant wealth to test how we handle life’s good moments. Sadly, not all of us can handle wealth in the way that God wants us to.

Our own spiritual growth is the ultimate determinant of what defines us, because it brings us closer in intimacy with the Lord.

Moving forward, we can choose the paths to take. With the right spiritual preparation, we can discern what Jesus will do in any situation we are in. At its best, we all have so much God-given potential that we just need to yield to God’s plans in order to let the seeds grow fully. As St. Paul affirmed in the Second Reading,

Therefore, we aspire to please Him, whether we are at home or away.”

Today, reflect on the following:

What is my life purpose? 

Am I obedient to God’s will for my life? 

Am I humble, grateful and thankful in all circumstances? 

Pray that you keep your heart fertile for God to establish His Kingdom and help you become an instrument of His power.  

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower. All who come to Him will live forever.” 

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