Today’s Gospel Acclamation tells us that Christ calls us friends. Comforting as this is, it can also be a difficult idea to digest. Little us, the ones who stray and err and lack commitment, we are true friends of Christ.
And, in many ways, it is a danger to think of ourselves as friends of Christ. We can risk diminishing His presence in our lives to a personal imaginary friend who would always back us, even if we were going against the Gospel message. An unhealthy and unreal club of two.
He would, of course, always back us. But he puts us right, too, he shows us the way. In other words, his word grows inside of us, developing us into the people we are destined to be. How, we do not know.
We are the little seed. We can often feel abandoned and unloved, distanced and alone in a world we cannot fathom. Yet slowly, through God’s grace, we do develop into beautiful creations. In our branches live beautiful things: relationships with others, kindness freely given to strangers, a non confrontational attitude towards those we disagree with, openness towards all, especially our enemies. These things come and rest in our branches as they sway in the breeze of the Spirit. This is God working within us. And we always have the choice to either allow or block this work inside of us. Do we go with it, still not knowing what will happen next? Or do we block the word of God and develop into unpleasant trees that bear no fruit, in which nothing comes to rest in our branches?
The answer is to love. It is always the answer, because love conquers all and is the root of our relationship with God. What makes Christ our friend is that we follow him, we take on his word, his commandment to love one another. So, let us take on his word today, and allow him to develop us, from seed, into beautiful things. Amen.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark
Jesus said to the crowds:
‘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.’
He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? 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 puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’
Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.
The Gospel of the Lord.