11th. Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B
Mark 4:26-34


by José Antonio Pagola

Jesus was concerned that his followers would end up one day discouraged to see that their efforts toward a more human and happy world didn’t reach the success they hoped for. Would they go ahead and forget about God’s reign? Would they maintain their trust in the Father? What’s most important is that they never forget how they must work.

With examples taken from the experience of Galilean farmers, he encourages them to work always realistically, patiently, and fully trusting. It’s not possible to open up paths to God’s reign in just any manner. They need to focus on how Jesus works.

Right at the start they need to know that their task is to sow, not harvest. They shouldn’t go about looking for results. They mustn’t worry about the efficacy or the immediate success. Their attention will be centered on sowing the Gospel well. Jesus’ coworkers need to be sowers. Nothing more.

After centuries of religious expansion and great social power, we Christians must recover in the Church the humble action of the sower. Forget the logic of the harvester, who always goes forth gathering the fruits, and enter into the patient logic of one who sows a better future.

The beginnings of every sowing are always humble. All the more if we’re talking about sowing God’s project in human beings. The power of the Gospel is never something spectacular or noisy. According to Jesus, it’s like sowing something so small and insignificant like «a mustard seed», which germinates secretly in people’s hearts.

That’s why the Gospel can only be sown with faith. That’s what Jesus wants to help them see by means of his short parables. God’s project of making a more human world carries within it a saving and transforming power that doesn’t depend on the sower. When the Good News of that God penetrates in a person or in a group of people, that’s where something begins to grow that is way beyond ourselves.

In the Church we don’t know right then how to act in this new and unheard of situation, in the midst of a society every day more indifferent and nihilistic. No one has the recipe. No one knows exactly what to do.  What we need to do is to seek new paths with the humility and the trust of Jesus.

Sooner or later, we Christians will feel the need to return to what’s essential. We will discover that only the power of Jesus can regenerate faith in the de-Christianized society of our day. Then we will learn to sow the Gospel with humility as the start of a renewed faith, not transmitted by our own pastoral efforts, but begotten by him.

José Antonio Pagola

Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf