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.
I do not know much about botany or gardening, but I bet there are bigger trees and smaller seeds than those from the mustard plant. So I believe Mark´s gospel is not referring to size or any other scientific fact, but to the natural process of a seed becoming a large tree. This is exactly how God’s kingdom works—a gradual process that invites our attention along the whole process to understand how it works.
The formation of the Kingdom of God is like a seed that is constantly growing. It sprouts, grows, and patiently flourishes until becoming a strong tree. Little by little God is making transformations, continually working in our lives. God is essentially a creator and can help us transform our lives. All we need is to invite God to enter into our daily lives.
Our Ignatian spirituality is centered in this concept of establishing the Kingdom of God. Our central petition is that we are able to act according to God’s will. So I ask the Lord today to move my will and put into my soul all I ought to do, so as to further promote God´s will.
—Fr. Hugo Nelson Gomez-Sevilla is a Jesuit from Colombia, currently pursuing graduate studies in educational leadership at Loyola University Chicago.
Eternal Lord of all things, I make my offering with your favor and help, in the presence of your infinite Goodness and in the presence of your glorious mother and of all the saints of the heavenly court: I want and desire, and it is my deliberate determination, if only it be your greater service and praise, to imitate you in bearing all injuries and all abuse and all poverty of spirit, and actual poverty, too, if your most Holy Majesty wants to choose and receive me to such a life and state.
—St. Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, #98, “Oblation of the Kingdom”