Friday, 30 January 2015

Agricultural metaphors

10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Daily Gospel with a prayerful heart.
Malcolm Davies (No.71)    
‘Jesus said to the crowd, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’
He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’
Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone. ‘(Mark 4:26-34)
Photographer: Plant Industry CSIRO
Jesus has been talking about the mystery of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not simply about going to heaven when we die. 

It is about living in the "reign of God" right now in our life. It is about the establishment of God's way on earth.  (Remember we pray: "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"?).
Jesus often used agricultural metaphors.  This reflects both his rural upbringing and his ministry in the small towns and villages of Galilee. There is always a great risk in farming as there are challenges of drought, flood or disease. Farmers have to take a risk.
We are being asked to take a risk in our lives. It’s called faith, also known as actually trusting God. It is Jesus saying to us that if we will live according to his way, the Kingdom of God will happen in our lives.
We allow fertile soil to grow the seed of the Kingdom when we live the life that the Gospel calls us to. That includes a life of prayer, scripture reading, service and care of the poor and marginalised we encounter in our daily life.
If we do not see much fruit in our life then we should reflect on whether we have the Kingdom as a priority.
Do we watch too much TV? Could we spend a little more time in prayer? 
Do we balance our computer or reading time with helping someone in need?
Do we set time aside to read the scriptures quietly? Or do we drown out the voice of God in constant noise? 
Is there a word or phrase from today's Gospel that stands out for me?

Photo by C. Timpani
5 minutes: READ the text slowly.
REFLECT on a phrase or word that struck you.
SPEAK to God about your thoughts.
5 minutes: LISTEN to God speak to you.
RESPOND with a prayer that feels right for you.
Malcolm Davies

Next Reflection: Susanne Timpani  Sunday 1 February, 2015