He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”
He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
It is not often that the Bible gives us a science lesson. But Jesus’s words are just as accurate now as they were 2000 years ago: seeds sprout and grow, and we know not how.
Science can explain a lot. Science can explain germination: once a seed is in an environment with water, warmth, and soil, it puts roots down and a stem up. But how does a seed know when to end its dormancy? or what kind of cells to build where? or which way is up? Science can be humbled by some basic questions.
Beyond all the how is the why. Why sprout? Why grow? Why put forth large branches? The why questions are beyond science; metaphysics, not physics.
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God.” Our lot is not to solve the mystery. Oh, we’ll search, and that search for truth is Godly, no doubt. But ultimately, we are called — by Jesus and Ignatius — not to know but to sow. And tend the field, and reap the harvest, a harvest of souls, including our own.
Don’t get me started on the miracle of photosynthesis.
–Mr. Paul Baudendistel, ‘90 teaches AP Physics and is the head coach of the varsity water polo team at St. Louis U. High.
This is a prayer we need to pray every day, every day: “Our Father: thy kingdom come!”
For this invocation means: “May your kingdom grow in us, in our actions, in society.
May God’s kingdom increase!”
―adapted from Pope Francis