Eleventh Ordinary Sunday
Sower sowing, not knowing when the seed will sprout
Points to note
The passage this Sunday revolves around two images: (i) that of the sower sowing the seed and (ii) the mustard seed. You may choose to use both or concentrate on only one.
The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower;
whoever finds the seed will remain for ever.
Explain that Jesus is telling a parable in this reading. Explain what a parable is and that some parables area allegories – where each action or person in the story could be representing something in real life. Get the children to try to identify what is what or who is whom in the reading.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Mark
(Mk 4: 26-34)
Jesus said to the crowds: “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord, the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.”
He also said: “What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time if its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds in the earth; yet once it is sown, it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.”
Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.
This is the Gospel of the Lord
Discuss with the children how wheat is grown and harvested. Point out the stages of the growth of the wheat: (i) the planting; (ii) the shoot; (iii) the budding of the ear; (iv) the maturity of the ear; (v) ready for harvesting.
Point out also the time of waiting the sower has to wait for the wheat to be harvested. He will never know for sure when the harvest will come because it may change with the weather. Also the fact that all the seed the sower sows are good seed. No sower will ever sow bad seed.
Liken the parable to God. Get the children to identify what represents what in the parable. There are alternatives:
(i) God is the sower and we are the seed. God never sow bad seeds: God made only good people; Are we the good people that God sowed?
(ii) We are the sower and goodness and love in the world is the wheat we would like to get. Discuss what is it the children would like to reap as a harvest? How willing are they to put in the effort to make sure that their efforts will bear fruit?
You may wish to use mustard seeds for this session. The mustard seed could be shown to the children in the course of the discussion but not given out. Otherwise, you will have mustard seeds all over the place. If you wish to say a prayer, though, each child could be given one seed to hold while the final prayer is being said.
You may discuss about what such a little mustard seed could be thinking about when it is growing up? How big will I grow? Being so small, can I be as big as the other trees? Link it back to the children. No matter how small we are today, and how little our knowledge, we can grow to be someone big and knowledgeable enough to serve God well.