May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be always acceptable to you O Lord, our God and our Creator. Amen.
This Sunday’s gospel reading consists of two parables, one more well-known than the other.
The second parable in the reading is the parable of the Mustard Seed which is found in three of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). Due to its occurring in the Synoptic Gospels it’s quite likely you would have heard a sermon or at least read this parable before. I know in Sunday School and youth programs when I was younger it was a part of lessons and talks on more than one occasion.
The first parable in the reading, which goes by numerous names depending on which version of the Bible you are using is far less familiar and so is what I am going to focus my thoughts on today.
In this parable we see Jesus relating a story to his audience about a man scattering seed and the resultant process of a seed growing to maturity. With our modern understandings this may seem an odd story for Jesus to be conveying to a crowd who is asking to hear great messaged of faith. However, as with all parables Jesus was sharing the great truths of the Gospel in a unique was that both allowed listener to learn if they were true seekers but also to hide the truth behind a curtain of allegory for those who may not be ready for the higher things of the Gospel.
In this case, this seemingly simple story about seeds growing relates a message of what the Kingdom of God is. This may raise the question for us all what is meant by this term “Kingdom of God”. Depending on your theological stand point this term can evoke many different images; for some it refers to the heavenly kingdom of God on high, to others an earthy Kingdom that will be ruled over personally by Christ when he returns. It’s impossible to say that any of these views are more correct that others however, speaking as catholic and orthodox Christians the Kingdom of God refers to the whole of God’s dealing with humankind, in other words the entire plan of salvation. So how is the story of a man growing seeds able to express this?
In this particular case we can view the man who plants the seeds as Jesus Christ, while the seed is the Gospel itself. Jesus walked upon the earth and while he was here his mission was to spread the Gospel to his people for the redemption of humanity. This message culminated in the great sacrifice of Christ upon the cross of Calvary and this is represented by the man falling asleep and his waking refers to his glorious resurrection.
This then leads to the question that if the man is Christ and the seeds the Gospel how can Christ not know the process by which the seeds grow? Doesn’t God know all and have all in his control and at his command? This is most certainly a fact that cannot be in doubt and this “not knowing” does not indicate a lack of knowledge but in fact refers to a letting go to allow fallen humanity to use their free will to accept the Gospel and let it grow within their hearts and minds. Christ is not a manipulator of men and never seeks to coerce any of God’s children into service.
After the seed the man plants grows it is quite a natural conclusion to the story that he would want to harvest the field and gain benefit from what he has planted and grown. In the plan of salvation it’s obvious to me that this harvest refers to the second coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
When a farmer harvests their crop not all of that which is harvested is fit for use and makes it to market and thus it will be at the great harvest which shall be performed at Christ’s coming. Each and every one of us will be judged in the harvest and our reception of the gospel and the way that we have tended to the seed of faith that was planted in us will indicate our reward in the world that is to come.
It is my hope and prayer that each and every one of us will tend to the seed that we hold within us and grown in the faith and love of Christ. If we do this we will work hard to be fellow workers with Christ tending to the field alongside him assisting God’s children with their needs both temporal and spiritual.
Please join me now in a word of prayer. Let us pray:
Lord God, you protect all who trust in you, and without you nothing is strong and nothing is holy:
In your great mercy guide us through the good things of this life, so that in the end we do not lose the things of eternal life. We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.