Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

God's Word on Sunday: Faith, trust open us to higher power

By 
  • June 6, 2021

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 13 (Year B) Ezekiel 17:22-24; Psalm 92; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10; Mark 4:26-34

What do trees, leaves and sprigs have to do with anything? The prophets often spoke in enigmas and symbols, and Ezekiel was no exception. God was often portrayed as a gardener or vineyard keeper in Scripture and the garden or vineyard often symbolized the people of God — Israel. The message of Ezekiel, both for his own time and ours, is that God is in charge.

With just the tiniest of beginnings — a sprig — God plants, nurtures and gives growth. This transplanted tree will grow to tremendous height and will bear much fruit, giving life to many others. This tree was Israel, and this makes perfect sense. The prophecy was given during the Babylonian exile in the mid-6th century BC and was meant to give hope and encouragement for the future to a broken and demoralized people.

Despite their diminished state, they would once again prosper and grow strong. The powerful and mighty trees — Israel’s captors — would be brought low, while Israel would outstrip them.

God is the restorer and giver of life, and we need to always keep that in our minds and hearts. Destruction and diminishment are never God’s final answer, for God is about life in abundance.

We face many similar situations. Our lives can come unraveled and fall apart. Collectively, we experience negative challenges such as natural disasters or the COVID pandemic. We need not lose hope or dwell in negative energy.

Faith and trust open us to a higher power and reality — the love and providential care of God. Patience and continuing to walk with God will set the process of renewal, rebirth and growth in motion.

Paul was well aware of this, for he had experienced his share of adversity, pain and struggle. He longed to be with the Lord, as do many of us, but he recognized that his earthly life was far from over and that God still had much for him to do.

Paul insisted that in all places and circumstances our sole concern should be to live in a way pleasing to the Lord. Walking in faith and love gives us spiritual sight and a sense of direction even when the road signs and markers are no longer visible. This enables us to continue to move forward regardless of what comes our way.

Jesus always spoke of the kingdom of God through similes and metaphors for it was a reality too difficult to describe with precision and detail. Both of the similes in Mark speak of how God works in the world and in the human soul: slowly, patiently and from the smallest beginnings.

We cannot control this divine activity, nor can we hurry it along according to our own desires. It is not something we do ourselves and we might not even be aware that something profound is taking place. God continually works in ways in which we are not aware.

All that is needed is an opening of the mind and heart to the Spirit of God and the desire to walk in God’s path and to co-operate with grace. The famous parable of the mustard seed is the classic image of great things from the smallest beginnings.

It is easy to be overwhelmed at the enormity of the world’s suffering or our own particular predicament. What can one person do? Not much if we are alone and doing everything by our own efforts.

Once God is factored into the equation, it is a totally different story. The smallest word or deed, done consistently and with love and intentions in harmony with God, can be transformed gradually into something magnificent. The initiative is ours, the growth and completion God’s.

This has a number of applications: our spiritual growth and increase in holiness are the most obvious. Our desire to be closer to God begins with the first step on our part and patient persistence. In having an influence on our broken world, we can remember Gandhi’s advice to become the change we want to see. Change begins with reaching out to another in kindness or defending those that are weak and vulnerable, one step at a time.

God is the multiplying force behind our actions and none of our efforts will be in vain if we allow God to be in control.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location