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Homily for eleventh Sunday B

15 Jun 2018, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

seedIn our first reading this morning, we see how God promised that he was going to plant a cedar that will grow to become the biggest of all, a cedar that would grow to provide shade and resting place for other creatures, a cedar that would make tall trees short and the short trees tall; this cedar would make withered trees green and take the life out of green trees. The Lord swore that he must do it; he said, I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it (Eze. 17:24). This reminds me of what Balaam said to Balak; God is not man, that he should lie, or a Son of man, that he should repent. Has he said and will not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Num. 23:19). Whatever God has said in your life will come to pass; no man, no power can stop it.

God fulfilled his promise, he planted the cedar, and that cedar is Jesus Christbaby Jesus who provides shade and protection for everyone. Mary said God had fulfilled his promise, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree (Lk. 1:52); just as God had said, the cedar will make tall trees short and the short trees tall. Every blessing God has pronounced will be fulfilled in our lives in the name of Jesus Christ.

mustard-seedJesus came into the world to lead us to the father, to lead us to the kingdom of God. He tried in our gospel reading this morning to make us understand the nature of this kingdom; he said; 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 (Mk. 4:26-29). Again Jesus uses another parable to explain the nature of this same kingdom; he said, 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 put out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade (Mk. 4:31-32).

In these two parables, Jesus uses the miracle of growth to teach us the nature of the kingdom of God. The farmer only throws the seeds on the land, how it grows and produces fruits, he has no idea. That is how God’s kingdom is like; it is not something we achieve by our own power; we only need to throw the seed on the land. The man did what was required of him as a farmer, he prepared the land and threw the seeds on it, and the Lord performed the miracle of growth. The farmer did the right things, which is required of us, to do the right things. To prepare the ground of our hearts and throw the seed of faith in it. It is by faith in God we are saved; living faith, faith in action.

The farmer couldn’t have improved the quality of the crop or even guaranteed its growth by staying awake all night or worrying all day; no, it is the Lord that guarantees the growth and the quality. The kingdom of God is not a place we can enter just by staying awake all night and worrying our lives all day; it is not by questioning God about the conditions of life but by doing the right things that are required of us as Christians and trusting God’s miracle of growth. It does not matter how small you begin, it may be at the moment the smallest seed of all like the mustard seed, but by faith in God, the miracle of growth will make it the biggest shrub of all.

We are challenged today to begin anew, to be bold enough to throw the seed of faith in our hearts and give God the chance to perform his miracle of growth.