Recognizable and Real

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Illustration by Frank Kacmarcik, OblSB, Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota. Used with permission.

I wasn’t born with a green thumb. Everything I try to grow has a disturbing tendency to wither and turn brown. My house is populated with plastic plants.  

So today’s Gospel reading has always intrigued me. Does just scattering seeds really work? Isn’t there more involved? Wondering about this, of course, misses the point.  

Jesus was speaking to people who planted, grew, and harvested. It was a part of daily life. For this crowd, Jesus was making the mystery of God’s kingdom recognizable and real.  

His message for them, and us, is this: The kingdom is closer than you may realize. It isn’t remote. It may begin in something as insignificant as a seed and grow into a creation beyond your wildest imaginings.  

Think of all the times Jesus used small, overlooked things to explain himself. The widow’s mite . . . the lost sheep . . . a pearl. He consistently called on his followers to treasure the tiny, the neglected, the commonplace. Even at his last meal, he gave himself to the world in something as ordinary as bread; and now he continues to give himself in a wafer no bigger than a coin.  

As he does so often, Jesus turns our expectations upside down.  

It turns out that nurturing the kingdom doesn’t take a green thumb. It begins by paying attention to the smallest, the least, the seemingly unimportant. Then step back and watch the kingdom grow.  

© Liturgical Press.

Deacon Greg Kandra

Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon serving the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. Author of The Busy Person’s Guide to Prayer, he is an award-winning broadcast journalist and maintains The Deacon’s Bench blog

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