Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Mark 4:26-34

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3rd Week in Ordinary Time

The seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. (Mark 4:27)

In the film Mr. Holland’s Opus, the lead character is Glenn Holland, a composer working on a symphony who takes a job as a high school music teacher to support himself and his wife. At first he is frustrated by teaching and dreams only of finishing his composition. But he gradually learns to love his job and to see how much he has taught his students—and how much they have taught him. The film’s message is best expressed in a verse from a John Lennon song that Holland sings for his deaf son, Cole: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

Unexpected results is also a theme in these two parables. The farmer can’t predict his harvest from just planting seeds. And someone who knows nothing about mustard plants can’t possibly imagine that they grow from such small seeds. But that’s the point. It’s often the case that when we’re working on one thing, God is doing something else in our hearts, creating something new that we can’t recognize until we look back and see it.

This means that you can relax a bit. Of course, try to stay vigilant at avoiding sin and growing in virtue. But let it be a confident, happy vigilance, secure in the knowledge that God will bring growth in the areas he knows you need the most. Just plant your seeds and tend your garden as you think best, and know that your heavenly Father will bring his good work to completion in you (Philippians 1:6).

God doesn’t always show us what he is doing in our lives, but that’s okay. In fact, it can be very comforting. Rather than expending so much energy trying to figure everything out, we can devote ourselves simply to loving God, loving our neighbors, and helping the needy. If we can focus just on this, we can rest assured that our heavenly Father will take care of everything else!

“Lord, thank you that you have an awesome plan for my life—even if I can’t see it all. Help me to trust you day by day. Lord, I place my life in your hands!”

Hebrews 10:32-39
Psalm 37:3-6, 23-24, 39-40

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