Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 10:32-39 + Psalm 37 + Mark 4:26-34
February 1, 2013
“…the smallest of all the seeds on the earth… once it is sown…
springs up and becomes the largest of plants….” [Mark 4:31-32]
Jesus today proclaims two parables about the Kingdom of God. In wanting to understand these parables, we might wonder what exactly the Kingdom of God is. Is the Kingdom of God the realm of Heaven, or is it the Church, some measure of both, or something else entirely, such as the individual Christian’s soul?
Jesus never directly addresses this question. But even without defining “the Kingdom of God”, we can say that the kernel of each “Kingdom parable” describes in some way the reality of Heaven, and/or the Church, and/or the Christian’s soul.
Take Jesus’ second parable in today’s Gospel passage. The change from the “smallest of all the seeds” to “the largest of plants” seems more easily applied to the Church and the Christian soul than to Heaven. Tertullian wrote that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”, a phrase through which we can see how this parable applies to the Church. With God, all things are possible: from a natural death, springs supernatural life. Or as the Church prays to the Father in one of the prefaces for martyrs at Holy Mass: by “your marvelous works” “in our weakness you perfect your power / and on the feeble bestow strength to bear you witness….”