Homily for the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), June 17th, 2018:
By Father Scott Karnik
If you read closely this Sunday’s readings, you’ll get an impression of the importance of growth, gradual growth. You will also clearly see who governs that growth, God Himself. Those are important points.
In Ezekiel, this reading is at the end of the chapter. God promises Israel, through Ezekiel, His prophet, to plant a “tender shoot” from a high cedar. God Himself will care for it and grow it. God is all-powerful and sovereign. God can and will do this. This refers to the Messiah, the messianic king and His universal reign. This messianic king is a “tender shoot” from the royal house or royal lineage of King David. God will plant and grow this “tender shoot” when it appears that David’s royal lineage has dried up. This “tender shoot,” this messianic king, is, of course, God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was born when Rome had conquered the known world to include Israel. St. Joseph is the last man is David’s royal lineage. He adopts God’s Son. Jesus is in David’s lineage. He is king. This king, Jesus, will become a magnificent cedar. That is a way to describe His kingdom. It will be universal and will shelter all nations, including the Gentiles. All kings will welcome this messianic king and acknowledge His divine origin. Under this majestic tree, the Messiah, holy men will experience spiritual growth. It will be so because these holy men faithfully worship in the Temple.
In St. Mark’s Gospel, Jesus describes God’s Kingdom. It is like a seed that is sown. It grows to maturity. The seed develops in the soil itself, with its own energies, until it is ready for harvest. God’s kingdom, which Christ has established, will grow gradually, consistently, to final maturity. God is all-powerful. God is sovereign. God will grow His Kingdom without violent revolution and without dramatic theater. Jesus says this to correct the religious error of His time. That false idea was that the Messianic kingdom would be inaugurated dramatically, politically, and suddenly.
So, what must we know? We must know that we cannot control the coming of God’s Kingdom. God is sovereign. God Himself will do this. The kingdom will be fully mature when all are brought to the kingdom.
What must we do? St. Mark wants his readers to be open to Jesus’s word and to draw deeper in a faith relationship with Him. We can’t grow the kingdom. But we can plant the seeds of faith, hope, love, mercy, holiness, obey the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Holy Mother Church. We can attend Holy Mass every Sunday and weekdays too, if possible. We can encounter Jesus in this Church’s sacraments. We can pray, individually and as a family, and attend Eucharistic adoration. We can actively oppose the sins of this world, like abortion, and many others. God bless those who go before the abortion clinic here in Fargo to pray, to give counsel, and to point out the immorality of abortion. Doing these tasks is sowing the seeds, even small mustard seeds. We plant them. God grows them.
Why should we care? Because we can’t stop God’s Kingdom from growing to final maturity. We can’t alter God’s Kingdom to what we think it should be and when we think it should appear and under what circumstances. God is all-powerful. God transforms. God grows. We care to walk in the dynamic life of faith. We care to sow the seedlings of virtues. We care to repent and be converted. We care to fix our souls on salvation, which St. Paul says is unseen but hoped for. God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son will do the rest.
February 12, 2017
October 23, 2016
October 2, 2016