Friday of the 3rd Week of the Year

Mk 4:26-34

Seed Grows by Itself


Jesus speaks about the Kingdom of God. He sowed the seed of this kingdom 2,000 years ago. It is true, Christianity with its 1,999,566,000 members is the biggest of all world’s religions. But does the Kingdom embrace after 2,000 years only 17% of the world population and not 100% or at least 90%?

Or at least into ourselves, Christ sowed the seed of the Kingdom into our souls when were baptized many years ago. Has the Kingdom fully captivated us? Aren’t there many areas where not Christ, but the world, even Satan is still in charge in spite of praying, reading the bible, attending Masses! The seed grows slowly. But steady! The seed is powerful and nothing can stop it from growing for God is guiding the process. He is in charge of the timetable for the growth and development of the Kingdom in the world and in us.

We live at times between sowing and harvest. Not to endanger the growth, we are called to protect the slowly growing plant, especially when the “typhoons” of sin and greed and pride threaten it.

The Word of God encourages us today to be patient with the often slow pace of God and to cooperate with God in the growing of the Kingdom in us and in the world. (Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


God’s kingdom is meant to be a growing kingdom. Its growth is natural and unstoppable as truth as unstoppable. All that is needed to begin the process of growth is for someone to scatter the seed. The Word of God is the seed and we are called upon to participate in spreading the gospel message. We are to sow the word of God in the hearts of those who have not encountered Jesus Christ. It does not need any other special effort from us other than our participation in its initial dissemination. We are not expected to work miracles. We share the message God takes care of transforming the human heart. Once God’s word is aired it quietly takes its natural course and brings itself into maturation. Then God reaps and is glorified by the fruits – the growth of the Christian community.

No matter how seemingly tiny and insignificant it all began, like the sturdy mustard seed, the Kingdom of God will grow and is expected to grow large. The following poem by Frederick Zydek says why the mustard seed is chosen in the parable:

The mustard seed is as sturdy as a weed.

It can take hold anywhere – among rocks,

Along putrid ditches, in country gardens,

Along paths that lead deep into the woods

No matter where it takes root, it takes over….

Jesus spoke in parables. His word becoming clear and understandable to all only when the time comes, if and when the time comes, if and when they are ready to hear and receive it.

In life we are always sowing seeds by everything we say and do. So let us make sure the fruits we reap come from good deeds we do each day no matter how seemingly small and insignificant. (Fr. Titus Mananzan, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


Men set foot on the moon some decades ago. In December of 2003, right on the eve of Christmas, the space-vehicle ‘spirit’ landed on Mars. Man has really employed his intellectual powers to full capacity in the interest of technology, in the exploration of space and many aspects of telecommunication as well as in other areas.

Here’s man, a genius who employed his mind fully in the interest of God and the Church: St Thomas Aquinas (January 28). He developed and systematized clear and correct thinking and used it in the exposition of Christian doctrine. In his teachings we find solid, logical foundation of our faith. No, he was not one-sided. He even touched such psychological question as: “What do you advice a woman who is about to cry?” his answer: “Tell her to just cry as nothing gives her so much happiness at the moment as to cry.”

The gospel tells us that Jesus communicated the truths of faith mainly in two ways: through parables or stories; the other, through detailed exposition. Indeed, for people of good will who are honestly seeking the truth, parables would be enough. This reminds us of the sharing of faith experiences which inspire and keep people going. The seed sown on fertile ground has the power to develop by itself: “the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how,” (v. 27). But for the curious-minded and the people whose duty is to teach and proclaim, a solid exposition is needed. That’s why “privately to His disciples Jesus explained everything,” (v. 32).

Human life is short. Trials and hardships do come, yes. But as God’s word assures us: “My righteous one will live, if he believes…. We are not among those who withdraw and perish, but among those who believe and win personal salvation,” (Heb 10:39). The most important thing is we hold on to the truth. Our faith is well founded on the truth. (Fr. Erasio Flores, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


In today’s parable, Jesus presents the farmer as a beholder of miracles. He would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.

The farmer cannot manufacture a seed. He can only select the seed, plant it in the right conditions, irrigate it with water and apply fertilizer. The result is powerful. From one seed comes a plant that produces grain, fruit, or vegetables much more valuable than the original seed he planted.

Jesus says this is similar to how the Kingdom of God comes to us. A preacher comes along and plants the seed of God’s word among us. He does not know who will believe and who will not. He preaches and teaches, not knowing how the Holy Spirit will work, only trusting that he will.

When the message is received by someone, it is as if a seed has been planted and started to sprout. It is a mystery how faith in Jesus takes hold of a person, producing fruits of good works. We cannot predict where the seed of the word will sprout which souls will respond and grow, and which will become stony and hard and reject the word of life. Those who receive the word do grow and grow surprisingly well.

What we want to watch out for are the things that obstruct the growth of the Kingdom among us. Things like jealousy, pride, greed and injustice work against the power of God’s word. We should stay away from them.

But God is faithful and when we confess our sins, His forgiveness is total. We are readied for the harvest when He will take us from this broken life and gather us to Him; in Him we will reap the fruits of our faithfulness. (Fr. Cyril Ortega, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


Our time is a crisis in discipleship. People like to be leaders but not followers. It is because they connect leadership with powers. But ‘power corrupts.’ That is why we have a lot of problems in many parts of the world. But a good-leader is characterized first by being a good follower. As Christians, our first task is to be good disciples of Jesus. And since the main message of Jesus is the Kingdom, we are invited to be disciples of the Kingdom. The Markan periscope has actually two short ‘seed-parables’ (what I call a meditative and the active phases) that would summarize Jesus’ invitation to all of us to be disciples of His Kingdom.

First, focus on the phrase ‘of its own accord.’ That is the Greek word automatos, from which the English word, ‘automatically’ is derived. Since the seed is the word of God, there is something inside it that changes us. It is Jesus, the Word that gets through to us. Jesus grows in us, just as seeds grow mysteriously and miraculously. As we pick up the Bible and hold it in our hands, we realize that this Word is not passive. There is something in here. If we meditate daily on this word, it grows in us. (This is the meditative phase).

Second, look at the comparison of the Kingdom to the ‘mustard seed.’ Like a mustard seed, God’s kingdom grows slowly but surely in our own lives. Jesus had this vision that there would be enormous and miraculous growth in God’s kingdom of love, justice and goodness throughout the world. But we must start by giving a little contribution to love, peace and justice in our own families and in our own communities. What begins humbly will give way in time and through a mysterious process to a far greater and more encompassing reality, God’s kingdom. (This is the active phase).

In time we would become His disciples. We only have to meditate and act on His word. (Fr. Felix Ferrer, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


January 29, 2016 Friday

As a new priest I had high ideals on how and what an SVD missionary should be. The words of Jesus in the Gospel today were then very clear in my mind and I thought these would be mine.

I was assigned in Socorro, Surigao del Norte, an island paradise facing the Paci c Ocean where the Catholic population was a very small minority. The mode of transport was by boat. There were roads but passable only by motor bike and I had none, so when my assignment was inland, I walked; when the village I went to was on the shoreline, I would take the boat. Every time I scheduled a visit to a chapel, I would always be at a dilemma. The closest walk would be 4 km., the next 7 km., then 9 km., and finally 11 km. Only one chapel was not accessible by land. I had no problem walking the distance back and forth. I didn’t have to spend any money, and that was ideal. Not until my body complained. Then I would take the boat, which was relaxing but the parish could not afford the expense. I was given a big boat with a big engine which was a fuel guzzler. Every time I would go by boat, the expense would be around a thousand pesos while the collection would only be around 200. This was bad economics.

I would not abandon my ideals so I chose to walk to the chapels except the one which could not be reached by land. As an ambulant missionary I made my visit bringing only the necessary things and entrusted my subsistence to the people I served. When my body clamored for attention there was always the local hilot who would restore my energy. I lived in poverty then.

That was 26 years ago. Today, I live in the city. I still strive to cling to my ideals but these are always challenged by the practical needs of the present. Personally, I am poor but with many facilities at my disposal. I realized that though Jesus’ time was different from ours, the essence of mission is still the same: Stay focused and follow the way of Jesus. (Fr. Rodrigo Salac, SVD | HNU, Tagbilaran City, Bohol Bible Doary 2016)



My Reflection: Our knowledge of God always starts with little idea about God. For example, yes we know that there’s a God but as to who is this God and what is the role of this God in our lives we don’t know yet. So for us to know more we nurture this idea by reading something about God. By going to Holy Mass, by reading the scriptures and by researching about our faith in the internet.

By doing all these things the little idea has now grown bigger until God now becomes the stronghold of our lives. He now becomes our safe refuge that we always look for during our times of distress.

However, not all of us seek refuge in God some of us seek refuge in our vices and with our friends. Only to know later that the refuge that they provide are short lived and passing. The only refuge that is forever is God all other refuges that others seek during their trials are all tied with time.

So, what must we do so that this little knowledge of God will grow to become like a big mustard plant? (Marino J. Dasmarinas)



Friday, January 29, 2016

Reflection for January 29, Friday of the Third Week; Mark 4:26-34

Reflection: There was a man who habitually shares inspirational and wisdom filled bible verses to his friends. He used every means available to share it such as through internet, mobile phones and the like. Regardless if he would get a reply of appreciation or not he would continuously send it to them.

There was one day wherein he accidentally met one of those friends who regularly receive his inspirational bible verses. His friend told him this: “Thank you for the daily inspirational bible verses that you’ve been tirelessly sending me, you’ve been planting the seeds of God’s kingdom in my heart, it gives me hope and it strengthens my faith in Jesus.”

In today’s gospel Jesus made use of two comparisons to describe the kingdom of God: the man who scattered seed and the mustard seed that became a great tree. Both seeds grew fruitfully and became useful, the scattered seed grew and was usefully harvested. The small mustard seed that was planted became big and had large branches where birds dwell in its shade.

Let us think about and ask ourselves if we have planted seeds of faith, goodness and humility in the hearts of our fellowmen. Let us think about and ask ourselves if we have planted the seed of Jesus in their hearts so that it may also grow in them and become as big as the mustard seed where others could benefit from it.

We might have not planted anything yet that will grow and bear much fruit in their hearts. Lest we forget that one of our foremost Baptismal mission as Christians is to scatter and plant the seeds of Jesus and our faith by sharing and living it.

Have you already done something to sow the seeds of Jesus in the hearts of your friends and relatives? – Marino J. Dasmarinas



January 29, 2016

REFLECTION: Today’s first reading presents us with one of the darkest pages of the entire Bible. There we witness the progress of evil in a human heart, that of David, a man blessed by God in so many ways, yet who lets sin take hold of his soul to the point when he has a good and faithful soldier, Uriah the Hittite, treacherously killed so that his own betrayal of Uriah’s marriage may remain a secret.

Now let us notice that the whole sordid episode begins with a lustful look: David’s ogling of a naked woman. Had David averted his eyes when he realized that he was seeing a beautiful woman bathing, nothing would have happened—no adultery, no deceitful attempt to cover his tracks, no murder. It is not for nothing that Jesus warned us: “Everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:28). In itself, lust is certainly not the most serious of sins. But it tends to bring about a host of other sins far more harmful to the soul. Our modern culture positively encourages us to lust after half-naked beauty queens and pin-ups. Are we aware of how much we are manipulated by the mass media in this respect?



Thursday, January 28, 2016

FRIDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – MARCOS 4:26-34. UNSA MAY ATONG MAKAT-ONAN SA SAMBINGAY SA LISO SA MUSTASA? Ang liso dili motubo sa usa ka pamilok ug ang tanum makapamunga human sa igong panahon. Ang mga Hudiyo nagpaabot og Mesiyas nga dihadiha mopabarog sa Gingharian sa Dios. Apan, niabot si Hesus kanila sama sa usa ka bata, nitubo sulod sa dugay’ng panahon, ug nagsangyaw sulod sa katuigan. Dili ba kita susama usab sa mga Hudiyo? Gusto kita nga mausab ang hulagway sa katilingban sa dinali-ang paagi, o kaha nga mabag-o ang usa ka tawo sa usa ka pamilok lamang. Apan dili ingon niini ang pamaagi sa Dios. Bililhon para Kaniya ang atong proseso sa pagtubo, ang atong pasensya ug mga paningkamot. Adunay nag-ingon: “Do not expect miracles to happen overnight. Be patient, be loving. And little by little the change you seek will come.” Posted by Abet Uy


KINGDOM OF GOD – The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants… – Mark 4:30-32

An author once wrote about a group of tourists who went around the world. As they visited small towns and villages, they were amazed to know these were birthplaces of some famous people such as great inventors, artists and politicians.

At one particular village, a tourist approached an old man and asked, “Excuse me, were there any great men or women born in this town?” The old man thought for a while then said, “No, no great men or women, just great babies!” Friends, no one starts his journey with the Lord as a saint already. We all begin as babies. But the Lord invites us to grow more in our relationship with Him.

Wherever you are in your spiritual life, let the Lord lead you to Himself and to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Christian. The Kingdom of God, like a mustard seed, has been planted in you. Allow it to grow. Allow God’s greatness in you to blossom into full maturity. Jonathan Yogawin (

Reflection: How can you further grow as a Christian? What concrete steps will you take to mature?

Lord, grant me faith like that of a mustard seed. May Your Kingdom be fulfilled in me.


Friday of the 3rd Week in the Ordinary Time

2 Sam 11: 1-4a. 5-10a. 13-17; Mark 4:26-34

Growing Seed

The parable of the seed growing by itself tells us of the spread of the Kingdom thanks to the combined effort both human and divine. Just as the event of incarnation was a combined project undertaken jointly by God and us, so is the Kingdom of God. Both play their part in the building up of the Kingdom of God.

The seed certainly grows by itself; but is not that a misconception? St Paul, when he speaks of the growth of the Church would emphatically say that although the planting and watering are done by various individuals, it is God who gives the growth (1Cor 3:6). God, in his own mysterious way effects the growth of the seed of the Kingdom. Persecution and adversities are expected, and indeed at times part of the process. However, the result of the growth is marvellous. However, the way of the Lord is unfathomable and the result of the growth is marvellous.

The human effort in the process of the spread of the Kingdom and its growth is crucial too. If you have an agrarian background or those of you do some kind of farming, involving seeds would know what preparation is necessary for a successful farming of a crop such as selection of the seed, preservation of the seed, the preparation of the ground and the selection of the right season for the seed to grow. Only when these factors are effectively seen to, he can sow he seed. Then he lets the Lord take over. Vigilance on the part of the farmer has an important role to play. He checks his crop in time to harvest it, gather it in and get it into his granary. Then, and only then, he can sit back and enjoy his harvest. The parable also gives us moderns a little warning against undue and thoughtless genetic modification that human intervention in the growth of the crop which is often inspired by greed and it lacks any respect for the creation of God. These interventions sometimes are productive, but we need to give thought to the possible far reaching negative implications of our greedy interventions in the nature.

The Kingdom of God is brought about and spread as a result of a joint venture between God and us. Let us pray for the grace to cooperate with God and for the strength to play our part in the ‘farming’ of the Kingdom of God. Dr. Benny Thettayil CMI



See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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