Spring and Summer are the times for gardens. Each Spring it is a beautiful sight when the first Crocus peeps through the soil, the daffodils come out, and the trees begin to blossom. For us this tends to correspond with the Easter Season and these signs of Spring serve as signs of hope for us in the New Life that the Risen Lord calls us too. As we progress through Summer the vegetable gardens are planted and we anxiously watch and care for the plants as they begin to emerge. We care for them by weeding, watering and protecting them from predators. It is no wonder that when Jesus teaches about the kingdom of God he uses the image of seeds growing. It’s an image that is a mystery and gives hope that everyone cand relate to and understand.
In the Gospel Jesus gives us a lesson on how the Kingdom of Heaven takes root in in the world and in our lives. He speaks of the seed, the blade, the ear and the full grain, and tells us about the small mustard seed growing into a large plant. This is an important lesson or us because we live at a time in which we have become accustomed to everything being fast, if not instantaneous. We might have patience with our gardens but want immediate results with so much more around us. Fast food, online shopping with quick delivery, and instant communication, give us what we desire immediately. This is different than the way to holiness and the discovery of the Kingdom.
Occasionally we hear of someone who had an immediate conversion, but for most of us conversion and growth take a lifetime. Like the seed and the plants in the Gospel faith must be cared for, cultivated and tended as it grows. At times we can easily become discouraged when we don’t hear the booming voice, see dramatic acts, or receive an immediate response to prayer. We might find ourselves asking, “Where is God?”, or even, “Is there a God?”
Jesus tells us clearly by his presence and with teachings, that, yes, there is a God, and He is in our midst. He usually moves so gently, quietly and subtly that we don’t notice his presence, but he is with us. It was not long ago, on the Second Sunday of Easter, that we heard Jesus say to Thomas “You believe because you have seen, blessed are those who have not seen, and believe.” We are those who are blessed because we do not see, but we believe. While we might not see the concrete presence of God, we are blessed with the faith to believe in his presence.
In the second reading Saint Paul speaks of this where he wrote, “we walk by faith, not by sight.” Christ is truly present to us in the Most Blessed Sacrament, Christ Is present in the Sacraments, Christ is present when we hear the Scriptures read and the Gospels proclaimed. Christ is also present whenever two or three gather in his name, when we see the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy being done by ourselves or others. It takes Faith to see Christ in all of these, but He is there, and with him is His Kingdom. In order to see the kingdom we need faith and we need patience. With these we can enjoy the kingdom knowing that it continues to grow within us and the world, and we recognize Christ and his Kingdom in the prayers and works done in his name. May we claim our citizenship in God’s Kingdom and allow his Kingdom to shine forth from us.
Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.