Parishioners have been pleased with our new protocols for Mass, with one side of the church keeping social distancing and masks, while the other side has no social distancing and masks optional if you are fully vaccinated. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly. I hope that people will feel comfortable returning: while virtual participation is better than nothing, experiencing the Body of Christ, both in the community gathered and the Eucharist, is essential to our worship experience.
Our Gospel today gives us two agricultural parables for the Reign of God: one about a seed, which is planted but then grows without the farmer knowing or controlling what is happening and the other about a mustard seed, which, while tiny, grows into a huge bush.
It helps to know the context Mark was addressing with these parables. The early Jewish Christians continued believing, as did the Jews, that if things were going well, God was pleased and blessing you. However, things were not going well: the Christians were rejected in Jerusalem and being killed in Rome. They were discouraged and their faith shaken. Mark was assuring them, through these parables, that God is in control, that the Reign of God is in His hands, and that all will be okay.
That message is summarized quite well by Paul in our second reading: “we walk by faith and not by sight.” This is a message we need to hear today. The pandemic has turned many things upside down. Gun violence, racism, inequity, injustice, partisanship, division both in our country and Church – it can seem like our world is unraveling. However, our faith tells us that God is in control and that, ultimately, all will be okay.
That does not mean we don’t have to do anything. We have to plant our little seeds. We have to live Gospel virtues such as love, forgiveness, and generosity, doing our little part to help the Reign of God grow.
As St. Julian of Norwich said, All will be well and all manner of things will be well, but we need to cooperate. I invite us to reflect on how well we are doing at planting the little seeds that will help bring about the Reign of God. Our country and world desperately need these seeds. Let us support each other in prayer, as we struggle to do so.
Church sign of the week: The will of God will never take you where the love of God will not protect you.