Seeds are among God little miracles, containing within a completeness that when given the right conditions unleash the power of great generativity. Time and patience along with trust are the key elements that transform these tiny life-forms into lush gardens and harvest-bearing fruits that are brought to our tables. It is this same sense of talent, growth, and development that Jesus highlights in today’s Gospel as he explains what is needed to bring about the reign of God. It is the model Jesus himself uses as he forms his disciples to continue his ministry. While it may not be evident to the followers themselves, Jesus trusts in their gifts and talents. Jesus is not about the “flashy and showy”; Jesus prepared for sustainability –developing roots to bring forth abundance from each of his followers. In our fast-paced society, it is natural to want fast results. We may prefer the quick solution that produces immediate results while ignoring the longer path to real change. “The importance of roots and shoots”… one of my horticulture professors used to emphasize in class. We might opt to choose a plant based on beauty without knowledge of the conditions of the roots or new growth, chancing the possibility of its total collapse if those elements are not strong. We go for the big and newsworthy while the real seeding is happening in what might be deemed the most insignificant to us.
While it is possible to feel overwhelmed by what is happening in our world today, our power can come from a resolve to not let these things rule us: to let go to God and trust our own ability to send out roots. Consider the time and patience involved in the risks taken by our modern day sowers such as of the students of Parkland High School, or the countless people who lobby for justice as they challenge their skill sets with efforts focused on the fruits of long-term change. Then there are the lesser known sowers such as Confirmation candidates who carefully choose service projects; or perhaps a child with a disability who earns a kindness award for his care of others.
Participating in the bringing about the reign of God, calls us to be cognizant to the activity of God among us, no matter how small it may seem. It calls us to be attentive to cultivating into abundance God’s gifts fully present in us. It calls us to be patient and trusting as we allow God to do God’s work within and among us without a definitive time frame or limits or borders. As we pray with the Scripture this Sunday, may we be our open to its challenge—the same challenge set forth by Jesus to his followers, to become true sowers for the greater goal of ongoing sustainability of the reign of God.
Sister Barbara Ann Sgro, O.P.