Hebrews 10:32-39; Psalm 37; Mark 4:26-34
The parables of Jesus in today’s Gospel compare the kingdom of God to seeds that grow. The first parable is about the seed that was sown and it grows without the sower knowing how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. When the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come. The second parable is about the mustard seed sown on the ground. It is the smallest of seed but when it is sown, it grows 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. The kingdom of God always starts small. It grows almost unnoticeable, but the time will come when it will be apparent and then the fruits will be harvested. In the case of the mustard seed, it will grow and provide shade for the birds of the air.
What was Jesus referring here? What is the kingdom of God? One commentator says these parables refer to Israel and God’s expectation of it. She was the smallest of all nations, but God called her and took care of her. And there is an expectation that she bears fruit and also provide comfort to those who come to her. But sadly, she did not fulfill her mission because she was more concerned about wordly fame and comfort, compromising God’s Truth to suit the needs of her leaders.
The Letter to the Hebrews reminds of what is expected from us. It reminds us of the time when we came to the Lord, when we endured sufferings, public shame and abuse, enduring even to the point of being deprived of what is rightly ours. All these we endure because we know we have something better and more lasting. It is tempting to abandon our faith because it is difficult. Yet, Christ did not call us to an easy life. He calls us to a holy life, which requires self-sacrifice and courage and perseverance through suffering.
It is not easy to walk in the Lord. Which is why the letter to the Hebrews reminds us: we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved. God wants us to have faith, to trust him, that he knows what he is doing, even if we are in the midst of suffering or confused. We trust God and believe he is here and he is in control. The Psalm tells us what we need to do show we have faith:
- Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
- Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
- Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him. And he will act.
Lord let me stand in your presence in trust. I offer you all my works. Let me delight in what you do for me and I surrender all my plans to you. Do to them as you wish.