This Sunday, the Gospel according to St. Mark, chapter 4, presents us with two familiar images of the Kingdom of God.  The first speaks of the hidden growth of the seed; the second is the very familiar image of the mustard seed.  When we consider these two images, the mustard seed is probably the image which receives the most commentary. 

The good news of this passage is profoundly expressed in the simplicity of its images; however, I want to focus on the first image; the hidden growth of the seed.  A sprouting seed is a basic image from human experience which has intrigued children from time immemorial.  The fact that Our Lord uses it to speak of the wondrous kingdom of life and love in which He calls us to share, reminds  me that it is so easy to complicate the truth.  It is often as clear and simple as a seed sprouting.  The beauty of this passage lies in the simple words, “he knows not how.”  We worry about how we will accomplish an important task or face a daunting challenge but, the good news expressed in this image is that God accomplishes His work of love and truth without us even knowing about it.  This hidden aspect of how God works in our lives is good news!  As we learned last Sunday, when we “do His will” we are assured that we will bear abundant fruit as His sons and daughters. 

St. Mark’s Gospel image embedded in the simple words “he knows not how” is a challenge for us. If we are honest with ourselves as men and women in this world, we have to admit that there is much we do not know.  The current age in which we live, tempts us to believe that we can know everything; that we can find the answers to all the mysteries of the universe. However, these words from Sacred Scripture should, instead, make us realize that there is much we do not know.  Possibly the greatest challenge for us is to realize that, in this life, we will never know everything.  Although this challenge is difficult, especially in our time, I find it to be a beautiful blessing, as well.  We have a heavenly Father, Creator of all, who is knowledge itself. He beckons to us as His children so that we may one day share His limitless truth in the beatific vision. 

Let us pray that we can humbly embrace the reality that in this life we will never have all the answers and rejoice in God’s invitation to walk with Him who, one day, will share His treasure of all truth.

By Bishop Joseph E. Strickland

Consistent with the command from the Spirit for St. Philip the Evangelist to teach the Ethiopian in the chariot, Bishop Joseph Strickland announced that the Diocese of Tyler would be "a teaching diocese." In his Constitution on Teaching the Catholic Faith, he founded the St. Philip Institute and charged it providing the parishes of the diocese with the materials, expertise, and support to perform the mission of teaching as outlined in this Constitution. "The Spirit said to Philip, 'Go and join up with that chariot.' Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, 'Do you understand what you are reading?' He replied, 'How can I, unless someone instructs me?' So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him." –Acts 8:29-31