February 1, 2013 - Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Hebrews 10:32-39
Psalm 37:3-6, 23-24, 39-40
Mark 4:26-34

Jesus again uses the image of a seed growing to express to us what our faith is like. When we use similes, we always end up with an image that is insufficient in some way. We say that this is like that, but we know that there are many ways in which this and that are different, but not when Jesus uses similes. When he describes our faith as being like the growing process of plants, we know that he invented the growing process of plants. It would not be going too far to say that when God created the world, he created plants in just such a way that they would serve as a perfect image later on. Thus Jesus is not straining similes to make a point; he is pointing out signs and symbols which he has himself placed throughout the universe. Whenever Jesus point to a part of creation he is saying that he hid the entire Gospel in that creature when he created it.

Therefore, when we consider a beautiful image that Jesus sets before us in Scripture, we know that we will never understand it completely, all the way to the end. There is always something more to learn. A doctor of biology or a horticulturalist will know ways in which the analogy of Jesus extends beyond the average person’s knowledge. However, simply because these parables have more meaning than anyone could find, studying only one of them forever, we cannot give up trying to understand them at all.

To point to one example, which Jesus uses today, that of the seed:
The seed is the Word of God. We are the soil. We must be soft and welcoming to the Word of God so that the seed does not lie on the surface and get stolen away by birds, but we must be equally hard and unwelcoming to the seeds of the Enemy: the weeds of temptation. We must let the Word of God put down roots, breaking through any hard rocks that get in the way. We must welcome the rain of grace that falls down on us so that the seed will grow. One day, the seed will sprout into a great plant and bear fruit. Then, when the holy angels come, harvesting the world, they will collect all the progress we have made in this world, keep only the tiniest part of it, and burn the rest.