Homilette for Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

(Hebrews 10:32-39; Mark 4:26-34)

Peter Maurin co-founded the Catholic Worker movement along with Dorothy Day. He was born in France and came first to Canada and then to New York after living as a Christian Brother. Maurin popularized Catholic Social Teaching with what he called Easy Essays. A typical essay reads,

The world would be better off
if people tried to become better.
And people would become better
if they stopped trying to become better off.

Maurin’s Easy Essays are much like Jesus’ use of parables in today’s gospel. Mark the Evangelist tells us at the end of the passage that Jesus speaks to the people in parables or images so that they might grasp his teaching. For example, Jesus describes God’s kingdom as seeds growing in a field and a mustard seed – common realities in the Palestinian countryside. To be sure, the dynamic of God’s kingdom is more complicated so Jesus has to explain it to his disciples in private.

Mark’s purpose is not strictly the same as Jesus’, however. He means to tell us, his readers, that Jesus is someone completely different from all our expectations. He is not like mere humans because from him -- like from a few seeds sown in a field or like a tiny mustard seed -- immense results come forth.