Today is Friday the 28 January, the feast of St Thomas Aquinas, in the third week of Ordinary time.
The choir of Westminster Cathedral, directed by James O’Donnell, sing O quam gloriosum by Victoria: ‘How glorious is the kingdom, where all the saints rejoice with Christ.’
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Mark.
Mark 4:26-34 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.
‘This is what the kingdom of God is like’, says Jesus, offering two images of sowing and growing from the natural world. A farmer – who scatters seed on the ground that germinates, grows and produces a crop ‘of its own accord’ and a mustard seed that, once sown, exceeds all expectations of its original size. What do these images conjure up in your imagination?
As you consider these parables of seeds sown and grown, what thoughts or feelings arise in you about God’s kingdom?
As you listen again to the reading, imagine Jesus speaking these words to the crowd. What is he hoping they will hear? What might he want you to hear now?
We are told that Jesus spoke to the crowd in parables but that ‘he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.’ For a few moments, allow yourself to be alone now with Jesus. Is there anything you want to say to him? What does he want to say to you?
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.