Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Book of the Prophet Ezekiel 17:22-24, Psalm 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16,
2 Corinthians 5:6-10, & Mark 4:26-34
Can God really help us? Can we have hope amid great struggles? Did God read today's headlines? These are the questions being asked and addressed in today's readings. They were discussed by Ezekiel's community, by the community of Corinth, and by the community under persecution, who first heard Saint Mark's Gospel narrative, and by all of us.
During the Babylonian captivity, it seemed the people had no hope as they wondered if God's promises could be fulfilled. (Please re-read the first paragraph.) The power of their captors seems overwhelming. Ezekiel explains that God is powerful. God can, and will, take a shoot and plant it as their future. What seems powerful will be brought down, and what is lowly will be raised.
In Corinth, as the early Church took root, people must have been losing courage. They had come to believe that their true home is in heaven, with their Risen Lord, who won victory over sin and death. Paul reminds them that, "We walk by faith, not by sight."
In Mark's Gospel narrative, Jesus prepares His disciples, and all of us, for the journey ahead. God’s reign, He explains, is not the way we think of earthly reign and power. Like the farmer who sows seed but doesn't grasp how it grows, even with the right combination of sun, rain, and good soil. It just grows. So, too, like a mustard seed that is not very impressive or powerful looking; however, the result is incredible to behold.
It can often seem that God expects our faith and trust to be easy; at least, it feels that way by how Jesus speaks to us. Let's dig a bit deeper. Jesus asks Peter to leave everything and follow Him and later invites him to get out of a boat and walk on water. God asks Mary to believe she is pregnant and to give birth to the Son of Man; she says, "Yes," and the world will never be the same. God is always telling us not to be afraid, and that might be because God knows that we are or will sometimes become frightened. We don't like the dark, the unfamiliar, and the complexities that confuse us, yet that is how we find and follow Jesus, just like the disciples in Mark's Gospel.
Question of the Day: How will you renew your faith and trust in God as you move toward the heavenly kingdom?
Prayer: "The seed is the Word of God, Christ is the sower. All who come to Him will live forever." Amen.