Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 4:26-34.
Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”
He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
Saint Peter Chrysologus (c.406-450), Bishop of Ravenna, Doctor of the Church
Sermon 98, 1-2 ; CCL 24A, 602 (trans.©Friends of Henry Ashworth)
“But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants”
Brothers and sisters, you have heard today how the kingdom of heaven, for all its vastness, can be compared to a mustard seed… Is that the sum of believers’ hopes? Is that what the faithful are longing for?… Is this the mystery no eye has seen, no ear heard, no human heart imagined; the mystery past telling that the Apostle Paul assures us God has prepared for all who love him? (1Cor 2,9). Let us not be too easily disappointed by our Lord’s words. If we remember that “God’s weakness is stronger than human strength, and God’s foolishness wiser than human wisdom,” (1Cor 1,25) we shall find that this smallest seed of God’s creation is greater than the whole wide world.
It is up to us to sow this mustard seed in our minds and let it grow within us into a great tree of understanding (Gen 2,9) reaching up to heaven and elevating all our faculties, spreading out branches of knowledge…
Christ is the kingdom of heaven. Sown like a mustard seed in the garden of the Virgin’s womb, he grew up into the tree of the cross whose branches stretch across the world. Crushed in the mortar of the passion, its fruit has produced seasoning enough for the flavoring and preservation of every living creature with which it comes in contact. As long as a mustard seed remains intact, its properties lie dormant; but when it is crushed they are exceedingly evident. So it was with Christ; he chose to have his body crushed, because he would not have his power concealed… Christ is king, because he is the source of all authority. Christ is the kingdom, because all the glory of his kingdom is within him.