Witness and partners of God’s wonders
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (Mark 4:26-34)
June 17, 2018
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
WE live in a world of wonders. Even the simplest flower, the smallest insect, the chicks trotting behind their mother hen, the playful dolphins . . . anything that has life and can give origin to similar beings fills us with amazement. Our faith tells us that all these wonders and, indeed, all that exists come from God and point to Him. He is the Conceptualizer, the Architect, the Artist and the “Caretaker” of the universe.
But the Creator of the universe and of all creatures manifests His power and wisdom in even more amazing ways in the life of intelligent free beings and of mankind as a whole. For them, He has conceptualized a marvelous “Grand Project” which encompasses all human beings and which is meant to be characterized by harmony, peace, solidarity, and love in all its possible manifestations. Unlike many of our projects, this one has 100% assurance of succeeding, in spite of all oppositions, mishaps and setbacks. This is so simply because its originator and supporter is no less than God Himself.
When the Eternal Word came to earth to present and launch it, he called it “THE KINGDOM OF GOD.” Jesus, God’s incarnate Word, showed the nature and power of the Kingdom through the miracles he worked and the parables he narrated. A question may be asked: “What can be our role in the realization of the great project of God’s Kingdom?”
The first of today’s parables answers this question by telling us that “The Kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed in the land.” Much is contained in this simple description of what any farmer does, year after year. The farmer is not the one who makes the seed, nor is he the one who can give the seed the power to sprout and grow and bear fruit. Any honest farmer knows that all these unique features can come from God alone. But this undeniable fact does not make the role of the farmer redundant or less important. For one thing, he “sows” the seed. He does that with intelligence and foresight. Before doing that, he prepares and plows the soil in order that the seed may find it soft and welcoming for it to thrust in it its tender roots in search of the moisture that will enable it to develop its potentials. The farmer also removes the weeds which might compete with the frail shoot and deprive it of the necessary nutrients. These are all factors that contribute to the final result of having an abundant harvest.
This is very much a case of successful “partnership” between God (“the maker of the seed”) and man (the farmer who enables the seed to develop its potentials). Obviously, this partnership is “uneven,” for the role of the producer of the seed is immensely more important than that of the farmer who simply facilitates the development of the seed’s potentials. But it is, nonetheless, a real partnership, and it is God who initiates it.
There is a lesson for all of us here, for we are all “farmers” in one way or another. It is wisdom to “know our place” in the great enterprise of building God’s Kingdom on earth, and to honestly acknowledge this, while doing our best to play our roles in it.
All this tells us that in the great enterprise of the building and growth of God’s Kingdom, God is the “Senior Partner.” But in His love and magnanimity, He promotes us to the role of “junior partners,” that is: free and intelligent instruments in God’s hand in the accomplishment of His project. That’s no little privilege. We should, then, remain humble and grateful, even as we do our best to do our share, constantly bent on carrying out the will of the Master Planner, Senior Partner and Great Achiever. To us, the privilege to rejoice in the fact that, all along, we have been not only witnesses, but also part of it all, as God’s humble co-workers, in the accomplishment of His wonderful project.