Seeds of the Word

This week's reflection is written by Mr. Joseph McDaniel, OSFS, seminarian.

Spring is known as the season of the emergence of new life from the dreariness of winter. New shoots bravely rise above the soil to face the sky above. Young birds courageously crack open their shells, crying out to their mother for the first time. Very often, this breaking forth of vitality happens invisibly; one needs to consciously look and observe in order to notice it.

I was reminded of this on a recent trip home to the West Coast. I found myself among the many life forms arising from earth and from water are young Pacific salmon species emerging from long months of incubation in the gravel of streams and rivers flowing down from the mountainsides. Looking down from a footbridge in a local park, I could spot a small school of young fish, each barely an inch long, fighting against the rapid current of the deep waters.

Fellow passersby on the footbridge were likely wondering why I was staring so intently at an otherwise ordinary-looking stream below. Yet, below the footsteps of dozens of people carrying on their daily exercise or a casual stroll, here was a nearly invisible struggle of young life to hold its place on the grand stage of nature.

In beholding the wonders of the created world, our Catholic tradition has noted how its unfolding reflects the revelation of the Word of God. The seeds of nature are also “seeds of the Word.” As a seed is locked in the earth and then bursts open in springtime, so too was the Word buried in the ground, to spring forth from it three days later. As a young fish struggles and then is able to leap victorious from the deep waters of streams and rivers, so too the Word of God struggled against chaos and death, often symbolized in the ancient world by deep waters, and then rose above them in victory. The Song of Songs beautifully states, “deep waters cannot quench love,” and this profound truth is recalled in our great sacrament of baptism.

Just as the dying and rising of new life in nature often happens imperceptibly, so too did the dying and rising of Life himself go unnoticed by most people in the world in which he had walked. Even those who were graced to encounter him following his Resurrection did not recognize him at first; their perception needed to be trained to see this new life against the backdrop of the world.

In our own lives, every day presents an opportunity for an encounter with the risen Christ. As with the disciples, these encounters may be hidden in our ordinary field of vision: in a person we find disagreeable, in prayer that is dry, or in a situation that is stressful. All of these may be places in our lives where seeds of the Word are sown. If we look closely, we may see them, and rejoice at the glory of God present in our lives, just as we rejoice in God’s glory revealed on a beautiful spring day.