He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”
He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a 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 except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Last summer, like the sower in the Gospel “not knowing how this growth goes”, I, a backyard gardener, planted a new variety of French filet pole beans. In a few weeks, the beans sprouted and grew to over 8 feet tall, overpowering the trellis. The instructions read: “pick frequently to ensure a continuous crop”. The harvest came. I picked and picked, frequently, feeding ourselves and several neighbors.
Jesus says our faith can be like a seed, simple and unimpressive, but as it grows and flourishes it can do marvelous things (like nourish others’ faith).
Each of us, in our everyday lives, can bear witness to Christ, and, with the small faith we have, we can grow strong. How do we develop a strong faith? From God through prayer.
As soil, moisture, and sun nourish the seed, so prayer nourishes our faith. The instructions read: “pray frequently to ensure a strong faith.”
―George P. Sullivan, Jr. is a Jesuit-educated lay leader who helped found the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, Chicago Chapter. He and his wife, Dorothy Turek, live in Wilmette IL, and have four children and four grandchildren.
This is a prayer we need to pray every day, every day: “Our Father: thy kingdom come!”
For this invocation means: “May your kingdom grow in us, in our actions, in society.
May God’s kingdom increase!”
―adapted from Pope Francis