Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The seed which produces a kingdom

Jesus said to the crowds, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, at once he starts to reap because the harvest has come." - Mark 4:26-29

I was intrigued with this passage because I am familiar with much of the gospels, but not this parable, so I thought I would contemplate it for today. It appears to be pretty straightforward. Jesus likens the kingdom to a man who plants seed, and with time the seed sprouts and grows, the mechanism behind this growth he cannot explain. Without any help from the man (other than sowing the seed) the land brings forth in its own prescribed manner the fruit of the seed, and when the time is right the man comes and harvests what he has sown and the earth has produced.

So, here is my take on it. This seed is the Word. The Word, by the way, is not the same thing as the scriptures although the scriptures are part of it. The Word is the Verbum Dei, or Jesus, the eternal Word of God. This is not merely the printed word on the pages of the bible, but the living Word of God as proclaimed by the Church which was given to her by her Lord. Jesus, the eternal Word, cannot be confined to words printed in a book.

Jesus teaches the twelve, and they go out and spread those teachings, the Gospel, to all the earth. The seed, God's word, has been scattered. It will grow of its own intrinsic power, a power present in humanity through the Holy Spirit, although how it works is not altogether understood by men. It is a mystery. The fruit which is produced is really two-fold. First of all, the Word effects a conversion in the individual which leads to spiritual maturity at which time it will be harvested, and the individual will be united with God in heaven. Secondly, the Word will lead to the foundation of the kingdom through its spread. It starts with Jesus and the twelve and on its own will take root throughout the world. This is exactly what the Church has done in both cases.

I suppose what makes this interesting is how people define the "kingdom of God." A lot of people I know say that it is heaven. That is part of it, but the kingdom of God that Jesus is referring to is the Church on earth as well. The Church started off with a small group of followers who safeguarded the seed, the Word which was taught them, and has grown into a mature and highly complex living thing just as Jesus said, which is guided and protected by the power of the Holy Spirit. The key to all of this is that the Church is a living thing. What gives it life is the Holy Spirit. What safeguards it from error is the Holy Spirit. What assures that it will achieve its full development is the power of the Holy Spirit.

Man will continue to spread the Word, the seed which bears much fruit. Indeed, the seed already has produced much fruit and from this fruit, more seed will be sown and more fruit will be produced, and the kingdom will never end. Blessed be God forever!


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