By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Pope Francis reflected on the two parables regarding the “Kingdom of God and its dynamic growth” from the Sunday Gospel (Mark 4:26-34) before reciting the Angelus on Sunday before thousands gathered in St Peter's Square.
The Kingdom grows by its own power
Jesus uses the first parable (Mark 26-29) to compare the Kingdom of God to “the mysterious growth of a seed” which is sown, sprouts, grows and produces grain “independent of the care of the farmer”, the Pope said. The message is that the kingdom of God has “erupted on the field of the world”, through Jesus’ preaching and action. The Kingdom grows and develops not as a work of human labor but “of its own power, and according to criteria that are humanly speaking indecipherable…. [It] is above all an expression of the power and the goodness of God”, Pope Francis said.
The Kingdom grows mysteriously
When human history seems to develop contrary to the will of God, the Pope said that “we are called to live this period as a season of trial, of hope and in vigilant waiting for the harvest”. The Kingdom grows mysteriously; its power is hidden in a small seed that is filled with “victorious vitality”. When times are dark, we need to trust in “God’s quiet but powerful action,” and “remain anchored in God’s faithfulness, in his presence which always saves”, he said.
The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed
The meaning of this parable is “the logic God’s unpredictability” which is not easy for us to accept. Jesus invites us to a faith that exceeds calculation and forecasts. “It is an invitation to open ourselves with greater generosity to God’s plans over our own personal … plans”. The Lord offers us occasions “to be involved in his dynamics of love, of welcoming, and of mercy toward all”. It is up to us to be aware of those opportunities.
The Pope concluded his reflection saying that “courageously moving forward in trust and humble abandonment in God” is the means by which we can judge the “authenticity of the mission of the Church”. Placing ourselves in God’s hands, aware of “being small and weak instruments”, we can accomplish great works” and allow “his Kingdom —a kingdom of justice, peace and joy in the Spirit—to progress”.