Who does not know that it is foolish to put our complete trust in anybody but the Lord our God? The Serpent is a foil to our salvation whereas the Lord alone is our rock, our fortress, our Saviour. Accordingly, the three Readings of today invite us to proceed humbly and patiently, with faith, hope and trust in the Lord.

In the First Reading (Ezek. 17: 22-24), the Prophet gives hope to Israel whose temple in Jerusalem the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed. God promises to break off a branch from the lofty top of the majestic cedar and plant it upon a high mountain. That tree prefigured the Church under whose shade the peoples of the world would find refuge. The fact is the Almighty can ‘bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish.’ Thus, only those who hope and trust in Him will be saved.

Israel was destroyed by successive enemies. God promised to save it if it returned to Him. Whereas it would never again be it an independent kingdom, God invited its people to cherish the Kingdom of Heaven which is eternal. In today’s Gospel text (Mk 4: 26-34), Jesus illustrates that truth by way of two parables. In the first, He makes it clear that as long as we scatter seed upon the ground – live our life – we are free to sleep and rise night and day. The seed will sprout and grow – life will take its course – regardless. When we acknowledge God’s supremacy, we have no cause for worry.

But that truth is unpalatable to the so-called positivists; they lack basic faith in God and the will to believe in Him. And after all, what does it take? Jesus assures us that it is enough that one’s faith be as small as a mustard seed. When that smallest of seeds is sown, it grows into the greatest of shrubs – even though we know not how. So, why be daunted by small beginnings? We must only make sure we enjoy God’s favour. Then, there could be growth and success in the wink of an eye – a truth that confounds the mighty and faithless!

Silver and gold we may have none but spiritually enriched are we, thanks to the seed of the Kingdom that Jesus has sown in our hearts. For our part, do we water it and let it grow, or do we neglect and let it be overwhelmed by worldly weeds? We are blessed that our ancestors received the Faith and passed it on to us. But then, how far do we value and nurture it through prayer, Scripture reading, practice of the sacraments and good works? How ardent are we in desiring that His kingdom come, as we pray in the ‘Our Father’?

Despite being a divine institution, the Church has had small beginnings and braved great adversities to form a Christian Civilisation. Yet, centuries later we have let it all go. Some at the helm have the temerity to overturn Tradition and reinterpret Her doctrine, thus hacking at its very foundation. Obviously, Satan is working overtime to plant weeds in the Lord’s Vineyard. But we should not be disheartened. We must continue with all our might and with all the strength that God gives us. The Church will remain until the end of the world, for Jesus said to him who would be the first Pope: ‘You are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ (Mt 16: 18)

In fact, no persecutor has succeeded against the Church; many have even come to a sad end. If we only remember that Voltaire died in despair! And many occurrences today do set us thinking and many contemporary saints have shown us the way. Finally, He who is the Way, the Truth and the Life will Himself return at harvest time – the end of times! How many of us will be ready? So, it is high time we straightened our paths.

That is why St Paul in the Second Reading (2 Cor 5: 6-10) exhorts the church in the bustling city of Corinth to walk by faith and make it their aim to please the Lord. The Apostle of the Gentiles notes that, with just a partial and indirect knowledge of God, living ‘by faith, not by sight’, our life is an exile, ‘away from the Lord.’ Hence, it would be preferable to die: ‘be away from the body and at home with the Lord.’ That is to say, have no attachment to earthly life. After all, we will all soon come to the judgement seat of Christ, and receive good or evil, in accordance with our acts. Is it not better, then, to right away place ourselves under the Lord’s wing?

Banner: https://rb.gy/3jefss