There are times and situations where we are in a hurry to see the fruits of our labour. Other times too, we wonder: when will this person change? When don’t see the fruit or when the person doesn’t change as soon as we expect, we are frustrated. How do this Sunday’s readings assure us? What can we learn from the patience of organic farming?
Readings Ezekiel 17: 22-24 Psalm 92: 2-3, 13-16 2 Corinthians 5: 6-10 Mark 4: 26-34
It’s common to find in some farm shops foodstuffs labelled “organic”. What they want to show is that those products have been produced in the manner that respects the environment: no chemicals and no manipulations. Often, such organic products take relatively long time to grow, involving a prolonged period of work. Then you understand why they are likely to be a bit expensive. Behind the label “organic” isn’t there something godly and evangelic?
Looking at myself, others and the world we live in I can imagine the mark that God has stamped on us: “It’s organic”. His patience for Adam and Eve who distanced themselves from his love, and for Israel who broke the covenant many times just show that those practising organic farming, probably, they copied it from God.
Organic farming, the practice of his son too!
It’s interesting to see how Mark opens: “The Good News of Jesus Christ son of God.” Indeed, here we have a son who, by his non-judgemental attitude and his loving patience, has learnt from his father the art of organic farming.
Look at the parables that he uses to illustrate the Kingdom of God! The grain of the mustard seed, yeast, the sower, and weeds to mention but just some. You find in them the aspect of humble and difficult beginning, yet, the result is plentiful. And so, right from the beginning Jesus wanted to warn his disciples of the work, apparently unrewarding, that awaited them, and at the same time, assured them that their effort wasn’t futile. His unwavering hope transpired also in his relationships with those whom society rejected as sinners.
Jesus welcomed sinners and considered them as heirs of the Kingdom, no matter what everyone else thought of them. No wonder, against the murmuring of others, he made himself Zacchaeus’ guest, and he called Matthew to be his disciple while he was still sitting on the desk of the tax-collector. He believed in what they could become.
But, not everyone acted like him!
The Pharisees, by their attitude, had already passed a final judgement on certain persons, hence, no use thinking those sinners could repent and see God’s mercy. Besides, Pharisees, there were others also who lacked patience.
We have a group of zealots who looked forward to a more just society, and wanted to restore to the people the power to govern themselves. But how would that come about? Speaking about love would mean waiting for eternity. So, they tried a way that they esteemed to be rapid and effective; they resorted to terrorism in order to destabilise the foreign, Roman rule. They turned to the use of arms.
Are we any better? Aren’t there times when we feel we just can’t wait anymore because our patience has dried out? So, we resort to the arms of uncharitable words, if not to acts of violence, in order to get others to be or act the way we want. That simply shows how difficult it is to practise organic farming. We want quick results!
Gospel of love and patience
From a fragile twig that grows into a bit cedar tree, First Reading, and the from the tiniest mustard see that grows into a big shrub, gospel; we see how good God is at waiting. He’s an organic farmer who respects the environment; he doesn’t manipulate us with his power, rather, he waits patiently for us to welcome, freely, his salvation. That’s how he works in the world in the discreteness of a patient farmer. Something is happening, even when we see nothing.
Then, taking a leaf from God, we too can become organic farmers especially in our relationships with others. We learn to wait for our neighbour is not beyond redemption -he only needs our patience.
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