Third Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 2 Sam 11:1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17
At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign, David sent out Joab along with his officers and the army of Israel, and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. David, however, remained in Jerusalem. One evening David rose from his siesta and strolled about on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful. David had inquiries made about the woman and was told, “She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam, and wife of Joab’s armor bearer Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers and took her. When she came to him, he had relations with her. She then returned to her house. But the woman had conceived, and sent the information to David, “I am with child.” David therefore sent a message to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. When he came, David questioned him about Joab, the soldiers, and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well. David then said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and bathe your feet.” Uriah left the palace, and a portion was sent out after him from the king’s table. But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down to his own house. David was told that Uriah had not gone home. On the day following, David summoned him, and he ate and drank with David, who made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his bed among his lord’s servants, and did not go down to his home. The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab which he sent by Uriah. In it he directed: “Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce. Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead.” So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew the defenders were strong. When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab, some officers of David’s army fell, and among them Uriah the Hittite died.
Gospel: Mk 4:26-34
Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” He said, “To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD: Worldly kings and rulers govern on behalf of God. They are called to dispense justice and mercy according to God’s will. They fail when they do not do so, as seen in the first reading. Others like king Mwanga of Buganda, tried to silence the Kingdom of God. By killing its followers. Jesus therefore, struggles to compare the Kingdom of God with any of these human kingdoms, none exactly portrays the image of the Kingdom of God. In God’s Kingdom, the seed is sown by God. It is small like the mustard seed. Yet in the end, its growth (no one knows how), surpasses that of all other human efforts. Worldly rulers cannot stop it, since God (the owner of the Kingdom) is Almighty. All of us are invited to cherish from the Kingdom like the birds cherishing from the huge tree.
Prayer: Lord, by your Grace may others find in me a place to rest.
SOWING FOR A GREAT HARVEST: Jesus presents the mustard seed that is too small a seed, and insignificant at first glance, but takes several lives on its branches when fully grown. With this example, the lesson is that it is not egoistic self-possessed persons who further the Kingdom but the humble ones that tirelessly work for the Kingdom. In this way then the Church is called to be fruitful and effective like a tree giving shade to the birds. It must be a Church totally engrossed in the rough and tumble of the human reality offering a calming presence. Each member of the Church is reminded, “What you sow, so you reap!” As David is about to reap the fruit of his sin, he graduates from one sin to another, “Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce. Then pull back to leave him to be struck down dead”, (2 Sam 11: 15). Jesus comes to set in motion positive changes and bring all people to the Kingdom. Let us be a sobering presence in the hustle and bustle of human life today and radiate the presence of Jesus to all, at all times.
THE POWER OF THE KINGDOM: In the imagery of the seed, Jesus explains the kingdom of God as life full of vitality. Though the seed is tiny, it contains a tremendous power to bring forth something very much alive and active. The moment it touches the soil, it brings forth its circle of life. The seed is to be sowed and bring forth life. This seed of the kingdom is “God´s love is poured” (Rom 5:5) and sowed in us. We, as seed beds, have the responsibility to make it spring out and bear flowers fruit and to seed once again. Therefore, the presence of the kingdom of God in us is a demand for our capacity to accept the invitation of God´s love and share it as a life-giving force. Accepting God´s love is to commit oneself to bring forth the fruits of love, joy, peace, faithfulness, and humility for a world of brotherhood, truth and justice (Gal 5:24). The bearers of the seed of the kingdom of God are always challenged with the demands of love, which is the basic principle of life. With love alone we can be called people of life. For without love, we are nothing (1 Cor 13:1). Am I capable of accepting the call of God´s love?