This coming Sunday, June 17, is the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time in our church calendar. We will remain in “Ordinary Time” until we begin the season of Advent, in preparation for the Christmas Season.
The period of “Ordinary Time” gives us a chance to reflect on those parts of the Gospel that are not proclaimed during the Seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter or Pentecost.
It is a great time to walk with Jesus as he went about doing good and getting Himself in trouble with the religious and political leaders.
The readings are: Ezekiel 17:22-24, 2 Corinthians 5: 6-10, and Mark 4: 26-34. Both the first and third reading speak about growing something from a small insignificant twig or a very small seed and having the growth exceed our wildest imaginations.
Ezekiel shows the power of our God when God breaks off a twig from a might cedar and plants it so it becomes a great and majestic tree. God says: “ I bring low the high tree, I make high the low tree; and I make the dry tree flourish.” Jesus certainly read this and could see that God would lift up the lowly and bring down the mighty. Already, trouble!
And as Mark tells the story of the mustard seed he has Jesus going even more “lowly” as He substitutes a seed, a scrub, for a twig and a tree.
And could that “scrub” be Jesus Himself? Certainly he came from nothing and had nothing at the time of his murder.
The “powers” would not have considered him worth even a footnote in history. His death would have gone unnoticed among thousands of other crucifixions. His death would have been less important than a mustard seed!
But this lowly tiny mustard seed would grow to be so large that all the birds of the air could nest in its branches. Now it is the greatest of all scrubs, this movement we are part of that is grounded in the Gospel.
We are part of that great movement that started out as a tiny mustard seed. It is our mission to help grow that scrub, that mighty scrub so that the Reign of God will become real here and now as we work for justice and risk our own lives in truth telling.
God does depend on us. The scrub won’t grow as well, the message of God’s Peace and Justice will be stifled if we don’t grow where we are to be what we are destined to be.