The Mystery of the Kingdom
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 4:26-34.
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
The Kingdom of God is one of most misunderstood and less preached themes of our Christian faith. However, it is one of the central themes of Jesus ministry while he was on earth. All of the Gospels touch on the topic because Jesus Himself dwelt on the topic in his preaching. This Sunday, we hear Jesus speak of it in parables.
Parables and comparisons are the only way to convey a reality that escapes full human understanding. That is exactly the point of the Gospel. The Kingdom of God is a reality that encompasses but in itself is not encompassed by a single human being. It is a mystery that is rooted, grows, and is nourished in the internal life of a person. How the human person is invited into the Kingdom, how he enters it, and what happens as he grows in it, is completely unbeknownst to the outside. Each human person can sense it in himself but cannot fully understand it nor fully explain it.
Jesus today explains that this Kingdom though not understood fully does exist because God scatters the seed of the Kingdom in all human hearts. We cannot explain the experience to each other fully because each experience of it is unique to each individual. The Kingdom after all is about a loving relationship with God. As in a relationship, it not defined but lived and experienced. It grows because God nurtures it in each individual. God is the Divine Gardener, we are the soil.
This means our relationship with God is God’s work in us. It is He who plants, waters, and nourishes. All the soil has to do is to be open, to cooperate to grace and allow the seed to spring up, grow, and contribute to the life-giving atmosphere of God’s garden. This means the human heart has to be docile, to listen, and to obey. If the soil hardens it stifles the seed but if it responds to the initiatives of the Gardener, it allows for something that is internal to manifest itself externally.
This is exactly Christian life. We always begin with a loving relationship with God and allow Him to work in us. Responding to His grace, we grow and mature in His love. Over the years, we come to full maturity and bear fruit and offer harvest to the God who invested so much love in us.