Mark 4: 26-34
He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
This First Friday of February we offer the gifts and graces, setbacks and challenges of this new month to our God with the following prayer:
O Jesus, I come before you
at the beginning of this day.
I gaze at your face,
I look upon your side
pierced by the lance.
Your wounded heart speaks to me
of God’s love poured out for us.
Take, Lord, and receive my heart:
the words of faith that I speak,
the works of justice I would do,
my joys and sufferings.
When I come to the Eucharistic table,
gather my offerings to your own
for the life of the world.
At the end of the day,
place me with Mary, your mother,
and for her sake take me to your heart. Amen.
—Excerpted from Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits, © 1993 Institute of Jesuit Sources, St. Louis MO
Lord, whenever we doubt our potential to lead a life of significance help us to remember who sowed us. When we feel unworthy or overwhelmed help us to hear your voice that reminds us that you knew exactly which gifts we needed ( and did not need) to build your kingdom.
Grant us the grace to guard against comparing ourselves to others. And, Lord, should we feel discouraged or begin to underestimate our contribution, remind us that someone needs us to keep on growing!
—The Jesuit Prayer Team