Mysterious Seeds

A seed is not something we typically associate with mystery or magnificence, but it is the analogy Jesus uses, not once but twice, in today’s Gospel. Let’s take a closer look at his first analogy:

 “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.” -Mark 4: 26-27

Jesus was teaching the crowds about the Kingdom of God. He takes something common from the human experience and suddenly it is a marvel, but the crowds listening to him would not have immediately grasped that. They were likely quite familiar with seeds because a large part of their sustenance and daily work centered on the sowing of seeds. A seed was certainly viewed as valuable, but mysterious and magnificent? Probably not so much, and yet it is precisely to seeds that Jesus compares the Kingdom of God!

The parable of the mustard seed

Mysteriously, when planted, seeds begin to grow right away, but the growth does not become apparent to us until it emerges through the soil. We almost forget they are there until they make their appearance.

Just as deep beneath the soil, the tiny seed breaks open and grows, so does the Kingdom of God. It has been growing slowly, silently, and quite intentionally throughout Salvation History within our world and throughout our lives, within our souls. This is mysterious and marvelous indeed! Do we ponder the mysterious and hidden ways of God? Can we recognize him in both the familiar and challenging moments of our lives? Remember that the seed must break and shed its hard shell for growth to begin. What in us must be shed for greater growth?

Walking by Faith

Jesus’s second analogy about the Kingdom of God begins like this:

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.” – Mark 4: 31-32

The Kingdom of Heaven is no longer a tiny seed. It is looming and large. It has spread and provides shelter and shade. What started as small and seemingly insignificant is now a great presence. It provides a multitude of unforeseen benefits.

Brothers and Sisters, let us never fall into discouragement when we don’t feel as if we can see evidence of God in the world. Remember that he is mysteriously present and continually making all things new. We need to look with new eyes, eyes of filial confidence that all is in His hands, no matter the circumstances. Then we can proclaim with Paul what he wrote in today’s second reading:

We are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5: 6-7

Let faith, which is eternal vision, lead the way!

[Readings: Ezekiel 17:22-24; Mark 4:26-34]

Celina Manville

I have been in education for 20+ years, mostly working in Catholic schools serving children with special needs. Ed and I have been married over 26 years and have 3 (now) adult children - Eddie, Tony, & Kateri. Since my mom was from Brazil, and I speak fluent Portuguese, I can understand Spanish fairly well. Currently, we live in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and are parishioners at St. Luke, the Evangelist Catholic Church in Raleigh. I am most grateful to my parents for grounding me in the faith, to the Franciscan University of Steubenville for its amazing formation and education, and to Christ and His Blessed Mother for being at my side.


  1. Thank uou for that intense analogy. We, as Catholics must continue to work towards bringing our friends, and family to Christ- sowing one one example of Christ after another- HIS love will bring others to the glory of his LOVE.

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