Reflections: 10th June 2018

A Reflection for the Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

MK 3: 20-35 ( )

If you see a healthy plant growing, take it from its pot of wet soil, take away carefully and gently see the fresh, fleshy and white roots growing determinedly in the soil without a sound!

This parable of the seed growing secretly and silently in the dark earth is the only one unique to Mark who wrote the first of the four Gospels. Matthew and Luke followed him.  There was no copyright law at this time.

I was once in the USA and spent a month as a hospital chaplain in Norfolk Bay. One day I went out on a tourist launch. I thought that it would be scenic, not knowing that it was a big naval base. We went from one large vessel to a larger one. One recurring phrase from the guide that I remember clearly was “It’s for the total annihilation of the enemy”.

The guide told us that some ships or aircraft had four or five thousand crew-members. Then he asked jokingly, “Any volunteers to wash up after dinner?” What I clearly remember was that everything was vast and made for destroying.

Jesus was preaching the kingdom, a kingdom bigger than the Church on earth and his visual aid was a tiny seed. But a seed filled with life.

Apparently in his parables Jesus followed the motto of the ecologists, “Think global and act locally.” Keep it simple. We are challenged to notice that we are part of the big story, i.e., the kingdom or reign of God. We are challenged or invited to co operate in building the kingdom. A kingdom of peace, justice and compassion.  

We are challenged to notice that Jesus in his parables is pointing to the ultimate meaning of our lives. As surely as the good seed grows so does the kingdom.

We are challenged to be builders of the kingdom but as builders of the kingdom and as workers in the vineyard we must follow the example of Jesus; we must keep it small and simple, remembering the words of William Wordsworth:

The best portion of a good man's life: his little, nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love.

Tom Mc Donald C.S.Sp. – Fr. Tom spent most of his missionary life in Kenya in different ministries. Anthropology is his speciality and he has lectured in Dublin and Nairobi. He is currently Chaplain at St. Michael’s Hospital, Dún Laoghaire in Co. Dublin.