Today’s parables were most probably told in response to questions raised about the apparent failure of Christ’s earthly ministry; it is likely that his disciples were looking for a tremendous response to his message.

The two parables told by Jesus depict stories of growth. In the first parable the Kingdom of God is likened to seeds sown and without human effort they sprout and produce a great harvest. The second parable compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed; a very small seed which grows and becomes the greatest of all shrubs. These parables are stories of optimism and speak of the eventual triumph of the Kingdom of God. Just as the seeds take time to sprout and grow so it is with the kingdom of God, it cannot be rushed, in God’s own time the Kingdom will be fully established. If this concept is not understood it can lead to frustration, despair and hopelessness.

The parables have a message for us. Sometimes life appears to be a failure. We believe that the future will be dark and painful and there is the temptation to give up. These parables say we must not allow our lives to be defined by the thought of failure. The parables are optimistic in outlook and speak of success.

Today’s Gospel stories can inspire us to overcome hopelessness and to have a positive outlook on life. Internal and external forces contribute to people’s hopelessness. What is hopelessness? Hopelessness is that emotional experience we have when it seems the situation we are in has no room for improvement. The future appears to be bleak; there are no solutions to the problems we face; life is not going anyway and we despair. Some of the problems that give rise to hopelessness are sickness, job loss, a broken relationship, financial difficulties, abuse of any kind, poverty, fear of the unknown, oppression and many other issues too many to name.

Life is meant to be a joyful and meaningful experience. We want to live a full life and realise our dreams. Jesus said; ‘I have come that you might have life abundantly.” Any time we are robbed of abundant life we experience hopelessness. Hopelessness is not necessarily a permanent experience, it can change with time. We might not have any control over the situation but we can manage it.

The present social and economic conditions affecting the world have made life difficult and unbearable for many people. Many people’s dreams have been shattered. This scenario has brought a sense of hopelessness to many persons. So many people experience hopelessness because they have nothing to hold on to and their lives are lived in an environment of despair. The present crisis reminds us that man cannot live by bread alone. Whenever we live by bread alone we open ourselves to hopelessness. 

Hopeless people become negative in their outlook and for many life comes to a standstill. Some commit suicide, some turn to drugs and alcohol, others sit on the block, hopelessness can lead to crime, hopelessness is an evil we must avoid at all cost.  This is why faith in God is so important for living a meaningful life.

The parables in today’s Gospel remind us of God’s divine providence. God governs all things in heaven and earth. God is in complete control of all things and everything works to accomplish God’s will for his people. In this world with all its complexities we are never alone. Paul write; “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Christians must always live in hope. Christian hope tells us that tomorrow can be better than today. That it will be better. Hope is necessary for living, without it we give up. Christian hope is built on God’s steadfast love.; a love that is unbreakable and always gives of its best. From the Christian perspective there is no hope without Christ.
Hope is not wishful thinking. Hope does not deny the reality of evil and pain. Hope helps us to accept and live with the pains of life. Hope gives us the courage to keep going and to remain positive. Hope informs us of the silver lining behind every dark cloud. The purpose of hope is not to numb our feelings and place us in a fool’s paradise. Its purpose is to give us the energy we need to live. Hope gives us the energy to live.

In this world of turmoil we are to be signs of hope in a hopeless world. We must so live that our lives will give hope to the hopeless we meet every day at work, home and our places of recreation.

The Christian hope is summed up in Paul’s words to the Romans: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”                        (Romans 8:36-38).

Remember, the seeds will grow.

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