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. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
At timberline in the Colorado mountains, small, gnarled pine trees grow almost horizontally. How can a tree survive bitter winters and harsh conditions so high up? How can a small pinecone flourish in the rocks?
Ezekiel plays on similar imagery, suggesting a “tender shoot” of cedar planted on a mountain and growing into a towering tree that shelters all manner of birds.
Jesus’ parable of the seed and the sower stresses a similar inner force that comes from God the creator, not the farmer who will eventually harvest the grain.
I can easily imagine that my own development depends on my efforts. Bookstores offer a staggering array of self-improvement techniques, but life is a gift from God who continually labors in my life. That is one of the fundamental assumptions of Ignatian spirituality.
Do I trust God to care for the life-Spirit within, no matter how harsh the conditions I face?
—Fr. Tom Rochford, S.J. is moving to Denver where he will serve as chaplain and artist-in-residence at Regis Jesuit High School. He is an artist (primarily oil painting), photographer and videographer.
You are the way, the truth, the life
Without the way there is no going
Without the truth there is no knowing
Without your life there is no growing.
Show us the way, that we may go
Teach us the truth, that we may know
Teach us the life, that we may grow
—Ted Tracy, S.J.