All their lives the two young brothers had lived in the city behind great stone walls and never saw field or meadow. But one day they decided to pay a visit to the country. As they went walking along the road they saw a farmer at his plowing. They watched him and were puzzled.
”What on earth is he doing that for!” they wondered. “He turns up the earth and leaves deep furrows in it. Why should someone take a smooth piece of land covered with nice green grass and dig it up?”
Later they watched the farmer sowing grains of wheat along the furrows.
”That man must be crazy!” they exclaimed. “He takes good wheat and throws it into the dirt.”
“I don't like the country!” said one in disgust. “Only crazy people live here.” So he returned to the city.
His brother who remained in the country saw a change take place only several weeks later. The plowed field began to sprout tender green shoots, even more beautiful and fresher than before. This discovery excited him very much. So he wrote to his brother in the city to come at once and see for himself the wonderful change.
His brother came and was delighted with what he saw. As time passed they watched the sproutings grow into golden heads of wheat. Now they both understood the purpose of the farmer's work.
When the wheat became ripe the farmer brought his scythe and began to cut it down. At this the impatient one of the two brothers exclaimed: “The farmer is crazy! He's insane! How hard he worked all these months to produce this lovely wheat, and now with his own hands he is cutting it down! I'm disgusted with such an idiot and I'm going back to the city!”
His brother, the patient one, held his peace and remained in the country. He watched the farmer gather the wheat into his granary. He saw him skillfully separate the grain from the chaff. He was filled with wonder when he found that the farmer had harvested a hundred-fold of the seed that he had sowed. Then he understood that there was logic in everything that the farmer had done. Mortals see only the beginning of any of God's works. Therefore they cannot understand the nature and the end of creation.1
I love gardening. Gardening is an art. To have a nice healthy looking garden, I need to have good soil and plenty of water and good seeds. For the spring crop, a few weeks at the end of the winter, I planted the tomatoes seeds in the pots. The seeds grew into plants. Then I transplanted them into the garden. Every Monday, I spend times in the garden to clean the weeds, trim the sucker branches, and add fertilizers to keep the fruits healthy. It is amazing to see a little seed of tomato developed and turned into a big green plant with string of green and red tomatoes. A lot of works, but it’s worth it.
Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds sown into the ground, yet when it grows up, it becomes the greatest of shrubs” (4:31-32). This parable is intended to explain the importance of the power of God’s grace at work in our lives and in the world. The common theme of life is growth. This is true for a tree, an animal or a human person. We were born to grow to maturity. Growth is a reality of life. The readings today remind us of the mysterious presence of God’s grace in our midst. This mystery of God’s presence in our lives is like the gradual process of growth.
It takes years for a cedar seed to grow into the magnificent tree. The same is true of the mustard plant. It is not an overnight phenomenon. For a seed to grow to become a tree, it requires times to develop the trunk and branches. The development of human personal maturity is just as gradual.
In one of her class, a teacher asked her students, “How many great people were born in our city?” “None,” replied the pupil. “There were no great people born. They were born babies who became great people.”
This is true. Greatness may not be within the reach of every one of us, but growth is. Each of us is capable of being a more mature person today than we were yesterday, and tomorrow can find us further along than we are today. And when we forget this vital truth, we lose sight of the essential meaning of life and the sources of its deepest fulfillment. Growing is part of life.
Plants grow by being rooted in good soil. Human beings grow by being rooted in God. God is the author of life. And God is the source of life. The Book of Genesis tells us that God created the whole world and life in the world. And God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it . . .” It is essential for human life to be rooted in God and grow. Two weeks ago, I buried Robert Collins, a good man from our parish. Several weeks before he died, he gave me a book that he authored. He told me, “Father John, I felt a calling to publish these thoughts before I go home to the Lord. I have had concerns on doing so because my thoughts don’t always agree with some dogma of our Catholic Church. But I am sure some of the information can give you some new concept thoughts.” Bob was an engineer. And I found his analogy of energy to explain his understanding of God insightful.
He wrote, “Of all the physical things known to me, the only parallel to this is energy. Energy cannot be created, nor can it be destroyed. It can only be converted from one form to another. Therefore, it has always existed and always will.
Then he quoted Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” With this he concluded, “God is all energy and all energy belongs to God. God Created, with his energy, everything on, above, and below the earth. All God’s creations are energy in one form or another. Mass is a collection of energies that provides a body to house the energy of his soul. The human soul is a collection of recorded memories of a person’s life that is encased by a containment shell of energy that is charged positive or negative. The human soul energy acquires a positive or negative polarity depending on choices between right and wrong decisions. The human soul energy is attracted into God’s heaven only when the polarity is pure positive and compatible with God’s energy. The human soul energy repelled away from God moves toward hell.2
We have free will to choose how we want to live; our energy can be in one of three polarity conditions: negative, neutral, or positive. A neutral polarity is a polarity that is balanced equally between positive and negative. A neutral has no attraction to anything. For a person’s soul energy to obtain a neutral polarity, for any significant length of time, is improbable. A person would have to maintain no opinion on anything, and have no memory thoughts that are positive or negative in nature. So, people will be either positive or negative.3
Sadly, in our modern society, more people are further and further moving away from God, away from the positive polarity, the source of life and energy. Many people seem more attracted to the negative polarity. More people are interested in the culture of death than the culture of life. A vast majority of people today agree using contraceptive birth control is good practice. Abortion is the law of the land. Many people are supporting and fighting for the right to abortions. Many women no longer see motherhood is an honor. They work tirelessly and uncompromisingly for the right to abortions and contraceptive rights. Today our government no longer wants to defend the Marriage Act; instead, the Pentagon has decided to salute gay military men and women and marking June as gay pride month just as it has marked other celebrations honoring racial or ethnic groups.
Yes, we are growing, but not toward the positive, but negative polarity. We are not growing toward life but toward death. What are we supposed to do? Mad? Angry? Withdraw? Fight back against the modern waves? Sometime we feel that we have become a minority. Christianity is no longer welcomed. Christian worldview is no longer appreciated. We are worried. What is going to happen to the world?
Listening to Jesus’ words today helps us to regain our hope. We are the seeds of the Kingdom of God. These seeds are small. They are sown into the world. What we can do is to let the seeds grow, and to produce more Christian seeds to be sown into the world. And God will continue to cultivate his seeds to transform the world.
Quaker philosopher Rufus Jones once told a true story about a man who owned a summer cottage on the coast of Maine who was determined to start a Sunday school class for children who lived on a nearby offshore island. He sailed to the island in his boat, gathered the children together, and began to instruct them in matters of faith. Hardly knowing where to begin, he decided to start with something familiar to all the youngsters. The Atlantic Ocean surrounded their island. They saw it every day. He would begin with the Atlantic. He asked, “How many of you have ever seen the Atlantic Ocean?”
There wasn't a single response. All the children stared at him blankly. Thinking they had not understood him, he repeated the question: “How many of you have seen the Atlantic Ocean?” No one spoke a word or raised a hand.
The visitor discovered, to his astonishment that although the children had spent all their lives with the sound of Atlantic surf beating in their ears and with the vast stretches of the Atlantic spread before their eyes; they did not know its name.
We hear about the Kingdom of God and we think only of some distant reality yet to manifest itself. There is that Kingdom to be sure. But there is another Kingdom, Jesus taught us, that is already here. If I may use the word guardedly, there is a “supernatural” Kingdom that already surrounds us. It is like treasure buried in a field, it is the pearl of great price. “Lo, it is in the midst of you.” said Jesus. We are not alone in this world. Imagine the difference that makes.4