YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE ELEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: Never become discouraged, it may be slow, but it’s growth is steady when nurtured by doing the will of God.
BY: Fr. Chimezie C. Aladi.
GOSPEL MARK 4:26-34
My dearest brothers and sister it is another Sunday of divine encouragement when God speaks to us His children to strengthen us in our faith struggle so that we don’t get discouraged when we think our faith and life’s struggles are not yielding immediate gigantic returns.
It is natural to us humans to expects immediate or giant returns on investments or on impacts made in any area of lives endeavour. *Preachers expect immediate conversion of their listeners, Parents expect change from their wayward children. Teachers may not be patient with slow learners, those in relationship also expect immediate transformation of their partner. These are all human expectations that often hurts* .Many get discouraged or quit when there is no visible impact of what they are doing. Many has taken to the wordily philosophy of ‘get it fast today, tomorrow may be late ‘.
Today the word of God challenges our beliefs and assumptions, while teaching us how in the realm of divine operation the seed of faith grows slowly but steady until it blossoms. The Parable of the mustard seed is one of the didactic approaches Jesus uses to instruct his first disciples and us to help us not to feel discouraged when the expected outcome of our struggles is minimal or contrary to our expectation. It is a parable Jesus uses to describe the growth of God’s kingdom or the growth of faith in our lives, which should also inspire our struggles in life.
It does not come that too fast, be patient, never give up the struggle. I had an experience with a Samsung phone I used in the past which taught me a little lesson. I didn’t just know what happened the phone’s battery got drained completely. As usual I plugged it to a power source to charge it but 25 mins later, there was no sign of charging, not even the battery indicator showed up. Two things came to my mind; It’s either the charger is bad or the phone has crashed. I went and bought another charger suggested by a friend yet nothing happened. I took it to a repair shop and they told me to replace the battery which I did. The new battery started charging but yet I was not convinced the old (OEM )one is dead, so I took it home too. The next day I tried charging it again being a little more patient and after 10 mins the battery charging indicator showed up and the battery kept charging till it was 100%. When I made further research on what actually happened , I realized that the battery was so drained that it needed to be boosted by a super faster charger or be allowed a longer time to come up. So while It was plugged in for charging, something not visible or noticeable was actually going on but it needed time and persistence to show up. I blamed my self for all the money wasted. _Yes, something is happening but it will slowly show up, so don’t rush it and get into trouble or be discouraged._
Jesus speaks to us about the Kingdom of God Today. The Kingdom of God is the growth of God’s rule in human hearts that occurs when man does the will of God and surrenders his life to God. The seed of Faith lies dormant within each of us. When we permit the Holy Spirit to nurture it with TLC (tender loving care), it grows miraculously into gigantic proportions. The growth is slow and microscopic in the beginning. But the seed grows by using the power of the Holy Spirit, given to us through the word of God, the Mass, the Sacraments and prayer. As we learn God’s will from His words and try to put these words into practice, we participate in the growth of God’s Kingdom on earth, a growth which will be completed in our Heavenly life. When the brain is starved of Oxygen a person faints, when the body is starved of water a person becomes dehydrated , and when the organs are starved of blood the person dies, so it is with man when he is starved of the word of God. If there is anything that nurtures the life of God in us, it is God’s word. We die spiritually when we ignore, pay deaf ears or avoid living by God’s word and living by our own standards. In the word of God we discover what God’s will consists of. The Holy spirit is the vital and animating force that enables the growth of God’s word in man( our growth in faith) and transformation of our lives.
In the First reading taken from the prophecy of Ezekiel ( Ez 17:22-24,) is a Messianic prophecy. Ezekiel tells us how the Lord God of Israel will send a descendant of King David as His Messiah and the Saviour of the world. In contrast with the parable of tiny mustard seed in today’s Gospel, Ezekiel sees the Messiah originating in a royal family (lofty Cedar, David). In the second reading, St. Paul teaches the Corinthian Christians that they are to advance the growth of God’s Kingdom and His rule in their lives by doing His will so that they may be amply rewarded in the final judgment. In today’s Gospel, Jesus compares the growth of the Kingdom of God to the germination of a wheat seed and that of a tiny mustard seed. Both have very small beginnings. The wheat seeds, by gradual but steady growth, give the farmer a bumper crop. In the same way, the life principle in a tiny mustard seed enables it to grow into a large bush. The reign of God in human hearts and the growth of the Church in the world also have small beginnings. But the Source of all life, God the Holy Spirit, gives to both a steady, persistent and gigantic growth, provided we cooperate with His grace.
My dearest do not be shy to accept a lowly beginning. Do not be discouraged to start it small. God does not expect so much from you, He want your commitment in the little you have just begun with. A farmer does not give up on the tiny grain of corn he planted but continues to water and nurture it until it grows. God has planted His word In our lives so we need to nurture it while He grants the increase. *Greatness is not achieved in a day, it is a product of life long struggle, commitment and persistence.* The Parable of the mustard seed lends credence to the adage which says “slow and steady wins the race.”
Therefore since the acceptance of God’s rule by human beings is a very slow process, there is the danger of discouragement and hopelessness among preachers, evangelizers and believers. *The conviction that growth of the Kingdom of God is the work of the Holy Spirit with our humble cooperation should make us optimistic in continuing our work of witnessing.* We should continue sowing tiny seeds in the form of words of love, acts of encouragement, deeds of charity, mercy and forgiveness.
May God’s word blossom in our lives. My the seed of faith in us germinate into a strong and unshakeable one.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. Chimezie C. Aladi.