Today’s find: The mystery in seeds…

Today’s find: The mystery in seeds…

Seeds are in the news today—soybean seeds. A farmer and a biotechnology giant are tangling over who “owns” the genetically-engineered germplasm in a strain of biotech seeds after the harvest. Or to put the issue another way, can you really patent an item in nature that regenerates on its own?

The legal questions at stake in this dispute are far beyond my pay grade. But I found it intriguing what one lawyer said when asserting the company’s position: “…to suggest that plants just grow themselves is preposterous.”

That’s really not such preposterous idea to me. Nor to Jesus, for that matter. He uses the mysterious action of seeds to help us learn something about God…and how God often works in the world (Mark 4: 27):

This is how it is with the reign of God:  A man scatters seed on the ground. He goes to bed and gets up day after day. Through it all, the seed sprouts and grows, without his knowing how it happens.

We are called to cooperate, then, in preparing for the harvest…in building the kingdom. But on some level, when the real action occurs, it’s entirely out of our hands. Our call, our duty, is to keep showing up: We go to bed and get up, day after day, and it may well be that we are never blessed with the particular harvest our heart desires.

Not getting what we want, though, is not the same as being ineffective. Even the things that seem like failures or disappointments in our lives may well have a purpose or an impact that is beyond our ability to see.

By stepping forward in faith, we embrace a profound mystery – one that is artfully expressed by the prophet Isaiah (55: 10-11) in today’s first reading at Mass:

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Thank you, Lord, for seeds and they bounty they provide. Thank you, too, for the mystery that seeds contain. Thank you for giving us a chance to hold a piece of your truth in our hands.