Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
In the parable of the Kingdom, because His Word is the only powerful force in this world that brings salvation, He makes us realize that real strength comes from within. Any power or aid to power coming from outside the person, organization or nation is only temporary. Aid to a person’s need, unless he’s incapacitated, will soon end, for only he and his God-given capacities can create an impact that will last. Aid to an organization to develop itself will soon end so that its members will progress and realize its vision. Aid to a nation will have to end, or it will lose its independence and its ability to develop its own potentials.
The parable of Jesus shows us His power in our growth as Christians:
- The power of the seed. No one has any power over a seed to grow unless placed in proper conditions, usually in the ground, (unless grown in a laboratory). No matter how small, it explodes silently from within and brings about life that makes it useful. The Word of God planted in the hearts of men cannot but burst forth to the world in order for the world to recognize its Creator, thus give life not only to one person but to all in the Kingdom of God.
- The power of the tree trunk. Jesus says, Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing (Jn 15:4-5).
- The power of the fruit. The fruit manifests the nature of the tree. Jesus says, By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit…. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them. (Mt 7:16-20).
- The power of the land. The earth is a very quiet and ever accepting of all creation. It does not complain. It is not arrogant. It only receives whatever is given, and makes use of it to generate power and life, whatever it is, moss, weeds, trees, worms, crickets, etc. And many have walked this land/earth to proclaim the Kingdom of God: a) By faith and for the sake of the kingdom, Abraham walked to the land of Moriah to sacrifice his son to the Lord and received the promise of fatherhood in faith of all believers; b) By faith and for the sake of the kingdom, Mary accepted the words of the Angel to be the Mother of God. She walked to the land of Judah to visit her cousin Elizabeth to proclaim God’s visit to His people; c)By faith and for the sake of the Kingdom, Joseph walked with Mary to Bethlehem to register and providentially witnessed the birth of the Savior of the world; d) By faith and for the sake of the Kingdom, the Apostles and many missionaries walked many lands to preach and proclaim God’s Kingdom; e) By faith and for the sake of the kingdom, many who seek peace tread paths to their relatives, friends and neighbors to bring forgiveness, show compassion or perform works of charity and mercy; f) By faith and for the sake of the Kingdom, we strive to be faithful to the commands of God as we walk in this “valley of tears” to the Promised Land in Heaven where He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away” (Rev 21:4). In many situations of love and life, we tread the land of our hearts for God’s love to grow and His Kingdom to spread, to receive God’s light, and for His children to bear fruit, fruit that will last. So the Holy Father announced the Year of the Faith from October 2012 so that God’s Kingdom would grow.
Thus, when we work, we acquire its discipline and participate in God’s creation of His Kingdom for the good of all. When we study, we acquire its discipline, so that we can develop our intellect and be prepared to teach in word and in deed the presence and the glory of God. When we pray, we acquire its discipline and are able to listen to the Holy Spirit and allow God to work in and through us so as to live according to His Will. When we respect and are obedient to legitimate authority and relationships, we reflect the life of Jesus who was obedient to His Father and sent the Holy Spirit to sanctify us. When we do works of charity, we bring the compassion of the Lord who served His people instead of being served, and proclaim His presence in the Church and in our families. When we teach and make disciples of all nations, we obey His command, and as we celebrate the Eucharist, we come as a Church to the table of the Lord and to proclaim His death and resurrection until He comes again. With Mother Mary may we come to serve Jesus more faithfully everyday.