Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time B
June 13, 2021
Mark 4: 26-34
By Rev. John Tran
And then there is the seed. Sowing and seeds are very important in today's gospel. The one who sows the seed doesn't know how it grows; the smallest seed can become the largest plant: what a paradox, what a mystery. In this gospel, the seed is a sign of how Kingdom of God is born. And we are the sower and the seed; we have the chance to bring into our world the Kingdom of God.
By chance, I read a short account of St. Maria Crescentia Hoss, a German weaver's daughter in the mid 1700s. While she was at prayer at the local Franciscan convent, a voice told her that this shall be your dwelling place. But she had no dowry or gift to give the convent on her entrance as was the custom at the time. So, the nuns rejected her petition to enter. She did not loose hope and continued to try to enter. Her patience so impressed the Protestant mayor of the town, that he bought a noisy bar next to the convent. He gave the land to the nuns on the condition that allow Crescentia to enter.
The nuns accepted, and took in Crescentia; but, they did so in the meanest way. They gave her the dirtiest jobs, they mocked her and called her 'hypocrite' and 'beggar.' When space was short in the convent, the new novice was given Crescentia's cell and Crescentia had to nightly beg a corner of another sister's room for the night.
Crescentia patiently bore each suffering, until finally a new superior made the situation right. During all the trials, Crescentia was given mystical gifts in prayer. Her reputation for holiness and wisdom spread even outside the abbey. Finally she was made novice mistress. For the last 3 years of her life she was elected abbess. She told the sisters, “God wants the convent rich in virtue, not in temporal goods.”
To me, the life of this humble person is a good example of what Jesus had in mind concerning the growth of the Kingdom of God. From the smallest beginning, the Kingdom of God spreads everywhere. Jesus wants his glory made known in our nothingness and insignificance, not in the great people and material wonders of this world. God came to us not in the glory of the Temple or a powerful king. No, rather his presence came to us in a insignificant carpenter and traveling rabbi. In fact in a person who was put to death in one of the most gruesome and degrading ways know.
The life of Jesus and St. Crescentia show us how we are to bring the Father's love to those around us. Not in greatness, but in the form of a small seed. It is in the hidden life of a seed in the earth, the quiet living out of the charity of God. The lesson, too, is that the growth and success of the Kingdom is not in our hands, but in God's hands.
Yes, God adapts us for his purposes and no one should say, I cannot be used. An old song says, “If you can use anything Lord, you can use me.” And old litany says, The next time you think God can’t use you, remember:
Noah was a drunk Abraham was too old Isaac was a daydreamer Jacob was a liar Leah was ugly Joseph was abused Moses was murderer and had a stuttering problem Gideon was afraid Samson had long hair and was a womanizer Rahab was a prostitute Jeremiah and Timothy were too young David had an affair and was a murderer Elijah was suicidal Isaiah preached naked Jonah ran from God Naomi was a widow Job went bankrupt and was depressed Peter denied Christ The Disciples fell asleep while praying Martha worried about everything The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once Zacchaeus was too small Paul was too religious Timothy had an ulcer. Lazarus was dead!
No excuses then — God chooses the weak and makes them strong!