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The Word Grows by Grace
Friday of the Third Week of Ordinary Time
He said, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”
He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the Word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, open my heart to receive your Word. Please bless me with the gifts of prudence and temperance so that I might understand today’s parables and be open and docile to your teaching.
- Unseen Grace: In the Parable of the Seed growing in secret, the seed is the Word of God, just as it was a few verses back in the Parable of the Sower. When the seed of God’s Word is sown inside a heart that is able to accept and receive it (Mark 4:20), it grows on its own–it is alive, “the word of God is living and effective” (Hebrews 4:12). How the Word inside us grows inside us is a mystery. Of course, we can contribute to this growth by nurturing it with prayer and receiving the sacraments, but here Jesus is emphasizing the grace of God working deep inside us, unseen.
- Grace at Work: God can use the tiniest things and grow them into something spectacular. The tiny mustard seed grows from what resembles a speck of dirt into a huge plant that is full of life. Jesus reminds us that the smallest openness to faith is all that is needed for God’s grace to work. What was once a tiny seed of God’s Word planted in an open heart can, over time, grow to become a rich faith, full of virtue and life.
- The Word Brings Life: The seeds in both of these parables grow to bear life: the full, ripe grain to be harvested and the birds that dwell in the branches of the mustard plant. The Kingdom of God is full of life. Accepting the seed that is God’s Word is the start to this fruitful life. In secret, deep inside the good soil of our hearts, the Word grows and begins to change us. We grow in virtue and we bear fruit in works of love for God and each other. God’s kingdom comes to the earth through us when we receive his Word in our hearts and manifest it into the world. Thy Kingdom Come!
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, I want to have your life within me. Grow your Word deep within my heart. Help it to become a fruitful plant that gives you glory and attracts others to admire your beauty. Let me always be open to your Word and truly care for the planting that is the spiritual life you have grown in me.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will read a portion of the Gospel and allow your Word to penetrate deep inside my heart.
For Further Reflection: Click here to read a blog post about the seed of God’s Word: http://www.acatholic.org/the-word-of-god-is-the-seed-that-is-sown-in-our-lives/.
Carey Boyzuck is a wife, mother, freelance writer, and a new Lay Member of Regnum Christi. She blogs at www.word-life-light.com.