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The seed growing in the ground,

which was recorded by the Evangelist Mark in his Gospel:

"So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come" (Mk. 4:26-29).

A plant, coming out of a seed, undergoes various stages of growth and development; in the same manner, a man who accepts Christ's teaching and receives baptism undergoes an internal transformation, and grows step by step, through the work of God's grace. At the beginning of his spiritual journey, a man is full of good impulses which seem fruitful, but turn out to be as immature as the offsets of growing plants. The Lord does not enslave human will by His All-Mighty power but allows a certain time for a man to become rich in this grace-filled power and gain in goodness. Only a man spiritually mature is able to give God the perfect fruit of good works. Yet when God sees a spiritually grown and mature man, He takes him from this life to Himself. This is the "harvest" of the parable.

Following the instructor of the parable about the seed growing in the ground, we must learn to have patience and indulgence for the people around us, for we are all in the process of spiritual growth. Some reach spiritual maturity earlier, others later. The following parable about the mustard seed adds to the previous one; and tells about the external manifestations of the power of grace in people.

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