Catholic homily for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Theme: The Kingdom of God
By: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
Homily for Sunday June 13 2021
2 Corinthians 5:6-10
To be patient in our day and age, is quiet a hurdle to get over with. Being patient today is like climbing a very high and steep mountain. Why? Because we are in the world where the name of the game is ‘instant gratification.’ And we can easily be caught up with this. Even I am guilty of this. Sometimes when I am hungry and the cook is having his day off and I am not feeling like cooking, I would just drive to the nearest fast-food chain and had my fill. Many a times, we can’t sit still in the restaurant, while waiting for a friend to arrive. We have to do something while waiting. And so we start fiddling with our phones, scrolling on the Apps, the social media ones in particular, texting, watching videos, others statuses or even reading old text messages. We don’t have the patience to wait eagerly for our friend’s coming.
In the gospel reading today, Jesus is telling us that the Kingdom of God is near, meaning it is definitely going to come, or more precisely, it is already in the making. That’s why he said, ‘the Kingdom of God like a seed.’ A seed needs to be planted, to be nurtured, to be watered in order for it to grow and to bear fruit, a good fruit. In a way, this is what the Kingdom of God is like. It is like a seed given to everyone of us to be planted, to be nurtured and to be cared for so that our prayer for the coming of God’s kingdom will be realized as we always pray in the Lord’s Prayer. In our personal way, in our individuality, in our uniqueness, in our talents, skills, abilities and capabilities, God plants in us the seed of his Kingdom. Our generosity, kindness, humility, goodness, our care for others are just few of the million other seeds of the Kingdom that God has given to each and everyone of us.
The question is: what are we doing with this seed? Are we nurturing it? We also have to remember always, that God does not make this seed grow overnight. That is why we need to exercise the virtue of patience. But for many of us, it is like this kingdom should just come here and now, forgetting that we all, individually have a role to play in the actualization of this kingdom. In fact, as Jesus would say in the gospel today, “The kingdom of God [for many of us] is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how.” (cf. Mark 4:26)
Beloved, Jesus is reminding us today the importance of the virtue of patience. He also reminds us that yes, we’ve got the seed to be planted and cared for, yet, it does not mean that because it is given to us, it is already completely ours, to the extent that we forget it is God who gives it to us. In our sleep, or even when we are awake, it is God who tends to it, who watered it, who caused it to sprout. It is his gift and it is his own doing. This was exactly what he was saying through the mouth of the prophet Ezekiel in the first reading. God says he is going to take a sprig from on top of a very high cedar tree and plant that sprig on the top of a very high mountain. When it grows big and tall and noble, it will be so big as to be home in the mountains for all kinds of birds. And I can do this, because I can do anything, says God. (cf. Ezekiel 17:22-24)
Beloved in Christ, our Psalm today lends voice to the first reading by calling us to awareness that we are the sprig which the Lord promised to plant on a very high mountain. The mountain here means the place of encounter with God (not limited to the Church community though- the place of worship; for the mountain is a place of encounter with God). Wherever Christians find themselves is supposed to be a place of encounter with God. Not only in the Church “the mountain,” but in Spirit and in truth, as John 4:21&23 would tell us: “… believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… Yet a time is coming and has now come when true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.” So we must flourish even in the family, the Church and the society where God has planted us. We must “flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a Lebanon cedar…” We must bear fruits even when we are old and feeble; proclaiming that the Lord is good, upright, in whom there is no wrong. (cf. Ps. 92:12-15)
So we have to be like the soil, be patient, making ourselves available and fertile for this seed of the Kingdom to grow in us. So instead of complaining, let us offer our contribution to the best of our ability in order that this Kingdom of God would be realized and that we are part in the realization of it. We just have to be patient. We might complain at times for the hard challenge we have to face and overcome, but if we just be patient, trusting and depending on God all the time while doing the best we can, our patience and disposition to God would be paid off.
The second parable is about the mustard seed which is very tiny. You plant this very tiny seed, and surprise! – it grows into a large tree, large enough for birds to build nests in and shade themselves. And the kingdom of God is just like that, Jesus says.
So what does this tell us about the kingdom of heaven? Well, the kingdom is a place for living, for shade, for rest. And to get there, all we have to do is plant just a little seed in people’s minds. And again, we can let God’s grace do the rest. Jesus’ preaching is so often directed at what he calls the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God. So once again, let us remind ourselves that this kingdom is a process whereby we gradually begin to see God taking back control of everything and the world changing to a place of peace, serenity and love of God and each other.
So let’s thank God for the seed of the kingdom, and pray that we would be more patient as wait in ‘joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour’ and for the fulfilment of God’s kingdom. Amen.
*Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya*