Friday, February 1, 2019

Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

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

There is a touching scene in Frederico Fellini’s movie Amarcord.  The people of a small town by the sea go out to greet an ocean liner.  The local blind man follows the crowd.  As the ship comes into view, shouts go up from the crowd.  With all the excitement the blind man exclaims, “I can see it. I can see it.”  Perhaps the people hearing Jesus in today’s gospel have a similar sensation.

Jesus is describing the indescribable.  The “Kingdom of God,” after all, is not a locality that we can find on a map.  Nor is it form of government – democratic capitalism, authoritarian communism, or enlightened socialism.  Rather, as St. Paul says in Romans, “…the kingdom of God is… righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  It is a community where people care for one another in response to God’s goodness. Jesus then makes two parables that characterize the kingdom.  First, it comes about gradually like a corn plant produces stalk and ear before the fruit appears.  Second, the kingdom gives comfort to many like a mustard tree shelters many birds.

The passage ends with Jesus tutoring his disciples. There is plenty of evidence in this Gospel of Mark that they are slow learners.  Maybe they like many generations afterwards need an explanation regarding why the kingdom is often aborted.  Why do so many communities lack righteousness, peace and joy?  Jesus will tell them that it is not God’s fault but ours.  God gives us the grace to experience His kingdom.  We have to say “yes” to His initiative.  We have to trust that when we sacrifice ourselves in love as Jesus did, God’s kingdom is ours.