“As the humble seed grows in the earth, so does the Word work with the power of God in the hearts of those who listen.”
These were the words of Pope Francis during his Sunday Angelus Address to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel from St. Mark, which recalls two of Jesus’ parable on the sprouting seed and the mustard seed.
In the first parable Jesus says that the seed grows and that “of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.”
The Pope explained that the seed is a symbolic image to represent the fruitfulness of the Word of God.
“As the humble seed grows in the earth, so does the Word work with the power of God in the hearts of those who listen,” the Pope said. “God has entrusted his Word to our earth, that is to each one of us with our concrete humanity. We can be confident because the Word of God is a creating word, destined to become the ‘full grain in the ear.’”
The Pope went on to say that once received, the Word of God sprouts and matures in ways that are unknown. However, he noted, this indicates that it is always God who makes His Kingdom grow. He once again called on the faithful to carry a pocket-sized Bible. Reading it, he said, “is the strength that makes the life of the Kingdom of God sprout in us.”
The Smallest of all the Seeds
Continuing his address, Pope Francis spoke on the second parable of today’s Gospel in which Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed.
While it is the smallest of seeds, Jesus says, “once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches.”
The 78 year old Pontiff stressed that in order to become a part of the Kingdom of God, one must be poor of heart while preferring to live in simplicity and humility.
“When we live like this, the strength of Christ bursts through us and transforms what is small and modest into a reality that leavens the entire mass of the world and of history,” he said.
“An important teaching comes from these two parables: the Kingdom of God requires our collaboration, but it is above all an initiative and gift of the Lord. Our weak work, seemingly small in front of the complexity of the problems of the world, if included in that of God does not fear the difficulties. The victory of the Lord is secure: His love will sprout and will grow every seed of goodness present in the earth.”
Pope Francis concluded his address by exhorting the faithful to imitate the Virgin Mary who received the seed of the Divine Word and praying that She “sustain us in this hope.”