Trusting That God's Garden is Good

June 13, 2021   Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Lectionary: 92)

Reading I   Ez 17:22-24
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I, too, will take from the crest of the cedar,
from its topmost branches tear off a tender shoot,
and plant it on a high and lofty mountain;
on the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it.
It shall put forth branches and bear fruit,
and become a majestic cedar.
Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it,
every winged thing in the shade of its boughs.
And all the trees of the field shall know
that I, the LORD,
bring low the high tree,
lift high the lowly tree,
wither up the green tree,
and make the withered tree bloom.
As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do.

Responsorial Psalm   92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16
R. (cf. 2a) Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praise to your name, Most High,
To proclaim your kindness at dawn
and your faithfulness throughout the night.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
The just one shall flourish like the palm tree,
like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.
They that are planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
They shall bear fruit even in old age;
vigorous and sturdy shall they be,
Declaring how just is the LORD,
my rock, in whom there is no wrong.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

Reading II   2 Cor 5:6-10
Brothers and sisters:
We are always courageous,
although we know that while we are at home in the body
we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yet we are courageous,
and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
Therefore, we aspire to please him,
whether we are at home or away.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each may receive recompense,
according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower.
All who come to him will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Mk 4:26-34
Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

By Mary Susan Delagrange

I went to the store to buy cream this week and walked out with seven plants. That’s all well and good until I also admit that my neighbor recently caught me talking to my basil. Suffice it to say I’m becoming more and more plant obsessed by the day.

The most beautiful plant I own is a golden pothos. It’s a fairly common plant, but mine is gorgeous and grows high and lush up a wire tower planter in my dining room. I noticed recently that it was growing a little too large and was well beyond the constraints of its pot. As much as I’d like to let it completely take over the house, I knew I’d have to prune it.

To be honest, I’m scared to do it.

I am hesitant to prune, unsure of where or what to cut back, doubtful of my ability to judge rightly, nervous that I am potentially ruining something that I love.

There’s so much of God’s will that I don’t understand and I often find myself feeling hesitant and confused. I can easily think myself in circles, worried that my steps forward might be in the wrong direction, that I’m too much, or that I can’t trust my instincts.

I also see lots of growth in the world. Some of it is beautiful, green growth, and some of it is just weeds. It's easy to be frustrated by the things I see flourishing that don’t belong: thistles, weeds, injustice, racism, hate. I’m impatient when good growth takes “too long” and annoyed when the seeds I plant never sprout.

It’s hard to release my vision for the way I think things should be.

But the truth is, I am called to surrender what I most love: my plants, sure, but also my relationships, my talents, my very self. I am called by Christ to a life of obedience, which yields freedom from disordered attachments that pull me away from Him. Obedience means trusting that He knows better than I do, that discipline is not a punishment, but a gift. I deeply believe that discipline is faith in action. And so yesterday I grabbed the shears and pruned my favorite plant.

Each snip of a vine is an opportunity to offer myself in humility and to act in faith. With each weed uprooted and plant repotted I can surrender what I most love out of trust in the One who works in mysterious ways, who can “bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree,” the One who makes the withered tree bloom and makes a haven from a mustard seed.

Regardless of my hesitancy and my ability, I can trust in God’s justice.

I can trust that He is always at work growing and tending, patiently pruning the garden He has sown. I can trust in His justice. I can trust that growth takes time. I can trust that the process is working even if I don’t understand the intricacies unfolding beyond my vision.

At the end of the day, I can trust most deeply that the kingdom of God is the garden of good.

Tiny seeds planted by Christ quietly develop underground, growing daily toward the sun, rising in strength until His kingdom is fulfilled. Just as seeds split open and grow, so does Christ’s love burst open in unseen places, transforming lives and mending hearts. So I’m learning to surrender what I love most, to be faithful in discipline, to offer myself in humility and allow myself to be pruned so that I might grow to greater heights of holiness with Christ.


Mary Susan Delagrange is a birth doula and homeschooling mom of four, happily married to her chef husband. A native Texan living in Ohio, she spends her days dreaming of real Mexican food, journaling, drinking too much coffee, and escaping to run in the woods whenever she gets the chance. She loves Henri Nouwen, Fred Rogers, and sunshine. You can find out more about her here

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