The poet T.S. Elliot observed;
It is strange that words are so inadequate.
Yet, like the asthmatic struggling for breath,
so the lover must struggle for words.
we move into mystery, into what is a meeting of the transcendent and
the ordinary, we need words and images to express what is beyond expression.
The deepest mysteries are found in relationship - the relationship
of God and his/her creatures, the loving relationships between human
beings. Sublime though these may be they are experienced in very simple
things. A beautiful sunset, a withering plant, a new born baby may
give one a glimpse of the mystery of a loving caring God. A card,
a touch, a little thoughtfulness may express and deepen the relationship
Gospel uses two images about seeds to express the mystery of God's
kingdom, the "where God is experienced." In the first parable
once the seed is sown the farmer waits for harvest time. The cycle
of growth follows its own secret rhythm; how it happens the farmer
does not know. Even though nothing much seems to be happening, the
miracle of growth is taking place. The farmer cannot improve the crop
by staying awake at night and worrying: the seed is nurtured in it's
seed is a great image of meditation. In meditation we just rest in
silence with our prayer-word and let the growth to harvest take place.
We do not know where this gift, this seed, the desire for silence,
has come from. The harvest or the kingdom of God cannot be achieved
by restlessly seeking instant results. In prayer nothing may seem
to be happening but God's harvest comes in his own good time. It is
very difficult for many people to believe this. People will ask, "How
can you be praying if you are not talking to God?" But prayer
is relating to God. We can relate by just being there. This is what
a mother does when she watches her baby. This is what you do if you
sit by someone who is very sick. Your being there when he or she opens
her eyes is a much appreciated silent assurance. It is an expression
the second parable Jesus compares the kingdom to the little mustard
seed that grows into the largest shrub so that the birds of the air
can shelter and nest in it. This can be an image of a self-seeking
prayer or of a self-giving prayer. Sometimes when we pray we are seeking
God's help so that we can be greater than others, so that our kingdom
may come. We want to be so great that others will depend on us - that
the birds will nest in our branches. However, I think the meaning
here is that something so small as our detached prayer can be powerful
beyond all expectation in the sight of God.
both parables the image of the seed is our inadequate way of trying
to express the Kingdom as a gift that comes from God. While it comes
totally from God it needs tending and caring and reaping by us. It
comes from God yet we must respond to it and nurture it. One of my
Jesuit supervisors in spiritual direction used to say that the work
of the Kingdom is God's work, but we must be careful because we can
muck it up. By the way we tend the seed we can nurture it; or we can
destroy or get in the way of its growth.