• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 15 June 2018 18:32

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - 2018

Written by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Mark 4:26-34



Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestTo borrow a joke from one of my favourite preachers Fr Bel San Luis, SVD, there was a young man who was praying to God. This was his prayer, “Lord, grant me the gift of patience … I want it NOW!!!” 

My homiletics professor, Fr Lino Nicasio, SVD once told us at the beginning of our homiletics course something like this: “Why do you think Jesus was a very good and effective preacher? Because he is a good story teller.” During Jesus’ ministry he was widely followed by thousands and thousands of people to listen to his teaching. Jesus attracted all those people because of his message, his gospel, his good news and Jesus knew his audience and knew that for them the best way to convey his message was through stories or specifically parables. He would try to relate his stories to the everyday life of the people and because of that he was so effective. 

For the next few Sundays particularly this Ordinary Time, we will hear a lot of stories from Jesus or more specifically parables. Now what are parables? Parables are similes. Jesus wanted to compare or make similarities between what is earthly and what is is divine. The parables present some sort of a mystery. It is something that is familiar and yet there’s an aspect that we can’t understand. The two parables this Sunday are about the “Kingdom of God”.  

First, the parable of the sower and the seed. Jesus described the Kingdom of God like a Farmer who scatters seed on the land and after doing his part, then the seed would grow without the farmer knowing or realising it. Then when it’s time, he would yield the sickle for the harvest has come. The second parable gives us a much clearer picture. Jesus describes the Kingdom of God as like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of seeds. If you want to have an idea on how small is a mustard seed, it is just slightly larger than a grain of sand. However, when this seed grows it is the largest of plants. Well, we have to explain that Jesus sometimes exaggerates his stories to prove a point. And yet, it is big enough to that birds can dwell in its shades. Jesus is wise to use these images because these images are very familiar to the people in his surroundings. And that is how Jesus uses parables to convey an important message. 

Now, how would we interpret these parables and how could these parables relate to our modern life? Let me propose two interpretations. First on a personal level, when we’re born, a seed of faith is implanted to us through the sacrament of Baptism. When we’re baptised, the Holy Spirit implants this seed of faith to us. And this seed of faith, if we let it grow, it will increase in size and later on it will fruit, and at the end of our lives, these fruits will be harvested for the kingdom. On a bigger picture especially relating to the second parable, the mustard seed is like our Church. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he left a few men and women to continue his work and that is to teach all nations, baptise them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and to observe everything that Jesus has taught. And from this small band of men and women, the Church grew and grew and it now has 1.2 billion members and still growing. And this church like the mustard tree in the parable has provided shade to everybody as characterised with the “birds of the sky” as it is said in the parable.

After some reflections, we may ask ourselves, how could this possibly happen? How could this small band of followers do it and to become the Church that we have right now. I think the answer is very simple, it is the Holy Spirit. Like the first parable, if we just leave the seed alone it will grow and produce fruit. If the first followers of Jesus didn’t allow the Holy Spirit to do its work and just relied on their own human efforts, the Church should have been dead long ago. And yet, the Church have withstood threat after threat…persecution after persecution. Well…it doesn’t mean that we just have to stand back and do nothing…we have to do our part as well but we must recognise the very important role of the Holy Spirit. The same is true on our lives, while we try our best to overcome the different challenges in our lives we do recognise that sometimes we have to “Let go and Let God.” 

May these parables provide us strength and inspiration that while we must do our part, let us be patient and let the Holy Spirit do his part as well, and who knows we may be surprised about the results.

Last modified on Friday, 15 June 2018 18:44