Homily for the eleventh Sunday in the Year  -  Year B  -  Mark 4:26-34

by

Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen



"Jesus said, «The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how.  The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.»

 "And he said, «With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?  It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.»

"With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything."



Homily:

"Jesus said, «The kingdom of God is...»"

Jesus spent his life proclaiming the kingdom of God.  When he was in Nazareth, during his hidden life, he announced the kingdom which comes by all his actions made in the Love of his Father and in the obedience to his parents, Joseph and Mary.  When he traveled his country, he proclaimed urgently "the gospel of God, saying, «The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.»" (Mk 1:14-15)  Would Jesus have had something else to do?  Isn't the kingdom of God which is promised to the elect the sole business of the life of men, these creatures made in the image of God and renewed by the Passion and the Resurrection of Christ?  The kingdomof God which Jesus proclaims must captivate us at the highest point: it must be the sole object of all our desires!

"Jesus said, «The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how.»"

We have never seen the kingdom of God.  It is indeed the kingdom which comes, that is to say, the kingdom which God promises to share with us if we remain ever faithful to him, until the day when we will appear before him.  If the kingdom of God is already there, as Jesus said it, it is only in hope, a hope so strong and so powerful that the kingdom seems to be present among us now.  But it is only a hope!  Now, in the kingdom of God, there is no place for hope, because the kingdom is a perfect and eternal vision of God.  It is no more the object of hope, because it is seen and fully possessed forever.  Therefore, the kingdom of God is a kingdom which comes, it is the kingdom which Jesus asks us to expect with faith and hope, it is the kingdom which we don't know yet in all its dimension.  That's why Jesus, in his comparison, said that the man doesn't know how the seed sprouts and grows up.  This kingdom remains mysterious for those who expect it!

"The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."

The Lord Jesus announced the kingdom of God when he was still on the earth.  Christ, the Son of God among us, was then the sign announcing the presence of the kingdom of God and the pledge of his definitive coming in the end times.  But since Jesus ascended into Heaven to open the door of the kingdom which comes, it is the Holy Spirit who, by some signs and by some multiple testimonies, invites us to understand that the eternal life next to God has already begun and that this same life is promised to us in Heaven if we persevere in the fidelity up to the end.  Since the beginning of time, God gave us different signs to warn us that it is necessary to prepare us for the meeting with the Lord!  And what is the most beautiful sign of the Lord, and the most surprising, if not the Eucharist itself, this sacrament of Body and  Blood of Christ, sign and reality of his substantial presence?  Actually, the Eucharist proceeds from this ear of wheat which the Lord made grow for us!

"With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything."

Our human nature is weak and limited in itself.  Also the Lord Jesus teaches us and explains to us the kingdom of God in the form of parables or of signs.  Now, a sign could have several meanings; a sign can thus be understood in a way, whereas the one who is the author of sign would have meant something quite different.  It is therefore necessary to have a certain assurance that the sign was well understood and interpreted.  Then, for this which regards the signs of kingdom of God, how can we sure that these same signs were correctly understood and interpreted?  In fact there is only one answer to this question--it is necessary that we confide in the Holy Spirit who can do everything and who can confirm to us all thing by his action in us.  In a word, it is necessary that we practice the obedience of the faith, it is necessary that we are true disciples of the Lord, that is to say, men and women who want ardently learn all from Him!

"Privately to his own disciples he explained everything."

Let us be disciples of the Lord Jesus.  Let us listen to him.  Let us listen to this Word of God which He is in person.  Let us receive Him thus in the communion of today, with confidence and abandonment, like Mary, the first and the most fervent of all the disciples of Christ!  Through Mary and for Mary, our Mother, may the kingdom of God dwell our hearts, as well as in the whole world and all the universe!


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