It’s summer time and Midwest farms are busy. The spring-time planting and weeding now bring tasty lettuce and squash, beans and tomatoes. In many locales the corn was indeed knee high by the 4th of July.

Today’s gospel speaks of a different farmer. The majority of the seed he sows lands on a footpath, or on rocky ground or among thorns…and produces no grain at all. The surprise is that a quarter of the seed produces in abundance. Jesus wants us to know that God’s kingdom comes about in that same way: extraordinary results come in the midst of apparent failure. Is there really nothing to show for all our efforts?

Hanging in there with the hoeing and watering and weeding take quite a bit of discipline and effort. Here’s where the readings lead us deeper into the mystery of God. Even human failure will not overwhelm the power of God’s word and work to take root in the soil of our hearts. Though small and frail by cosmic standards, the human heart rises to new heights out of its very frailty when it loves, hopes, and believes. All it takes are a few seeds, a little water, and lots of love. This is indeed with the reign of God is all about. It is in the quiet of our hearts that God’s spirit truly moves and grows strong.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team