Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

2019 Devotions Daily Devotions February

Heb 10:32-39; Ps 37:3-6,23,24,39,40; Mk 4:26-34:  Many of the saints have taught that all of us are by nature available to the truth of natural law and by grace we are even capable of receiving supernatural truth.  This is the consistent teaching of the Gospel and the Church that all of us are called to be saints.  Such an expectation is still quite startling for many Catholics. Some complain, “I only want to get to heaven; I don’t want to be a saint.”  These people need to ask, who is in heaven?  God is in heaven.  The angels are in heaven.  The saints are in heaven.  Am I God or am I an angel?  Then how can I get to heaven?  Only by becoming a saint will anyone enjoy the fullness of the Kingdom of God. Notice it’s about becoming a saint not about being canonized a saint.  Still, this is quite revolutionary.  Being a saint, we have confidence that the LORD helps us and delivers us because we take refuge in Him.  It is his tiny and hidden Kingdom that surprises the hearts of all who seek Him, seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Sharing in the mystery of the Body of Christ necessarily involves a sharing in the mystery of a great contest of suffering.  After being enlightened or associated with those who are so enlightened, we can expect to be publicly exposed to abuse and affliction. In the face of such a mystery we stand confident even when thrown into prison or have our property confiscated. Indeed, we do not throw away our confidence; it will have a great recompense.  Finally, with the converts from the Jewish faith, we join in the cloud of witnesses who have endured and have received what the LORD has promised. After we have endured a brief moment then the LORD will come, he will not delay.  The just will live by faith and not draw back, not run away, from threat of danger.  Ultimately those who have faith will possess life.  This faith makes it possible to struggle and even suffer to behold the coming of the King and of His Kingdom.

Giving into temptation does not prevent the arrival of the Kingdom of God, but we do slow down its arrival.  This is part of the mystery of the Kingdom.  This mystery the Lord Jesus presents to the crowds in parables and explains in private to his disciples.  We are part of both groups.  We get a glimpse of the mystery of the Kingdom as we listen with our hearts to his stories and word-images.  We also need the further understanding that comes when the disciples admit that they are obtuse.  The seed that contains the power to produce new life and new food is unstoppable. Indeed, “of its own accord” the land surrounds the seed with nutrients and moisture.  This blade, ear, and full grain necessarily follow the interaction of the earth and the sun.  The science of Jesus’ time did not even give this much understanding of the process of photosynthesis and food production.  For them it was all hidden in the mystery of God and God’s nature. Though some of the mystery has been revealed by science, there is still a wondrous mystery hidden in this parable and in the parable of the mustard seed.  It is tiny, yet it grows into one of the largest of plants with grand branches, so that all the birds have a place to find comfort and food.  Although so tiny and seemingly insignificant, this mustard seed is full of the potential that keeps cropping up in our lives, even though sin also keeps cropping up.  When the darkness of sin and evil attempts to put out the light of faith the breath of the Spirit blows over the chaos of our lives.  The movement from the first reading to the responsorial psalm is nothing less that this great wonder of grace and mercy.  Where sin abounds, grace all the more abounds.  Sin does not destroy the faithfulness of the LORD. More certain than food and greatness in the seeds is the certainty of the LORD’s love and mercy.  Jesus the Christ, provides full pardon for all sinners by his cross that is the tree of life in the Kingdom of God.