26 January [Sts Timothy and Titus]
Mk 4:26-34

Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.’  He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’  
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

For ‘kingdom’ say ‘presence’.  Then read it again.  “The presence of God is like this: a man scatters seed upon the soil.  Whether he is asleep or awake, be it day or night, the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how.”  The seeds of awareness of God are in us.  They will not suddenly leap into the air, bypassing all stages of growth, and fill the grain-loft to the door.  Instead they will lie in the damp earth, lost and forgotten, seeming dead.  But the miracle of life is happening there where no one can see and no one can understand or explain it.  Then the most vulnerable part appears just above the ground.  It has no defences, it doesn’t find itself in a glasshouse; it is exposed to everything that could happen to it.  That's life.  Only love could take such risks.

In this parable Jesus says that the presence of God is like that.  Now, for ‘presence of God’ just say ‘God’.  God doesn’t appear with flashes of lightning and claps of thunder.  God appears slowly, microscopically, humbly, tenderly…. Our part is to wait, to listen, to have the wise humility of the earth, and to have faith and hope and love. 


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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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