By Dennis S. Hankins
And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
What is seed? A seed, a single seed, is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering called the seed coat, usually with some food. Properly planted and watered a seed will reproduce after its kind. Watermelon seeds reproduce watermelons. Corn on the cob comes from seed corn. Those bright, juicy tomatoes started from a seed. The green beans you preserve to eat like fresh picked green beans at Thanksgiving started with a…well, you get the point!
So seeds are important. They are vital for the sustaining of life and the provision of healthy life giving food. We get important nutrients from fresh vegetables and fruits all of which come from seeds containing the likeness and nutrition of the mother plant. Therefore we can say with great confidence that the mission of every seed sown is to reproduce after its kind.
Jesus compares the growth and reproduction of the kingdom of God with seed that is sown by a farmer that will reproduce after its kind. The DNA of the kingdom of God is in every baptized follower of Jesus Christ. We carry the seed of the kingdom of God. Our mission is to plant the seed of the kingdom of God in our families, our neighborhoods, at work, or wherever we may be.
St. Paul described the effort of planting the Kingship of God as a cooperative effort. Together, in a parish, we collaborate to make the kingdom of God known and understood and felt. Sometimes we are planting kingdom seed, sometimes we are watering it, and God gives the increase. In a family a husband and wife work together to make God’s Kingship palpable to their kids. They do all they can to extend God’s kingship in their family by praying together, worshipping together, laughing and crying together as together they grow in faith and in the knowledge of the saving work of Christ.
Kingdom seed doesn’t grow unless it is planted. All of its good news and power to forgive sins remains anonymous until it’s shared. The great mercy that each seed of the kingdom carries within itself remains unfelt unless we fulfill our mission to sow kingdom seed entrusted to us. Just imagine how much God is waiting to burst out with new life and light and love for all who are languishing in the kingdom of darkness. God gives us opportunities and moments when he wants us to plant some seeds of the kingdom. He wants the great mystery of his life to be sown so that his kingdom will grow.
Like a farmer we have to be patient and persistent. We have to trust the process and believe that what is sown in faith will grow and make new servants of God’s benevolent work and kingdom. Our mission is to live and to share the good news of God’s love and forgiveness and mercy by faith. We aren’t ruled by what we see, we give witness and live out our mission by faith. And we do so with the understanding that we must one day give an account of our faithfulness to the mission of sowing kingdom seed. Amen.