June 12, 2024


delfin bautista (they/elle/delfin)

In the middle of Pride month, today’s reflection invites us to experience both the gift of planting seeds of grace and of being planted and grown through grace. Whichever image, and hopefully both, connects to your experience, this essay and this month also remind us to be proud of who God is growing us to become and to share our pride in the growth of others.

June 16, 2024: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Ezekiel 17:22-24

Psalm 92:2-3, 13-16

2 Corinthians 5:6-10

Mark 4:26-34

Planting and Parables

Today’s readings lift up seeds and plantings. Before digging into the actual words, I invite you to place yourself into the parables as the seed. Take a deep breath. Imagine being planted; feel the moist earth … feel your roots going deeper into the soil … feel your leaves stretch out … feel the nutrients coming up into your roots and spreading throughout you … savor the splash of cool water hydrating you … enjoy the sensation of releasing oxygen and purifying the air … feel the sun on you, giving light and strength and heat. Enjoy creatures of all types enjoying the refreshing shade you offer whether you a flower shading a small bird or a tree shading a bear. Now picture your stems and branches forming buds and then flowers and then fruit. Imagine the fruit being picked – which may produce a moment of pain – but then gaze upon the creatures from bugs to people enjoying your creation. Now take a deep breath. What do these sensations and experiences of being planted and blossoming look like in your life in this moment … where are you planted, what is nourishing you, and what fruit are you giving witness to?

Jesus’ use of parables is incredible! Through these stories, Jesus meets people where they are and uses language that is accessible in every sense of the word. Often, we get stuck in jargon and use overly heady theological language that loses folks, confuses folks, and can be off-putting. Here, Jesus shows a commitment to meeting, teaching, and preaching to people where they are, and through this simplicity, Jesus create entry points for transformative wallops of meaning.

In this spirit, I will keep things short, sweet, and maybe a little sassy. The readings today invite us to literally get dirty. Through each, we are reminded that God has planted seeds in us and through us. Ezekiel, Paul, and Mark – through the simple imagery of seeds, planting, and fruit – call each of us to reflect on how we are nurturing and cultivating the seeds God has placed in us and through us: are we caring for our bodies or are burning them out? Are we using our gifts and skills to bear fruits of justice, equality, and liberation through simple acts of kindness?  

There is a Mexican proverb that translates to: “They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.”  Not only are we called to plant seeds, but we are ourselves planted – in our jobs, ministries, families, social media groups, schools, and in other spaces. Despite challenges, we find ways to grow to help others thrive. God has planted us; sometimes awkwardly, confusingly, and without us realizing it.

Are we okay with planting seeds whose fruit we may not get to see or taste or smell or even imagine? Though God has planted us, we may not get to experience the liberation we yearn for. At the same time, we too experience the fruits of seeds planted by those who struggled and celebrated before us. Whose fruits, flowers, and produce have we harvested and how will others harvest what we plant?  

May this Pride Season grace us with space to care for ourselves and to allow others to care for us. May we care for one another through solidarity; and as community plant, harvest, and be Pride!



mx. delfin w. bautista, MSW, MDiv. (they/elle/delfin) is a native of Miami, FL, is of Cuban and Salvadoran heritage, and currently serves as the Director for the Lionel Cantu Queer Resource Center at UC-Santa Cruz. A social worker and activist theologian, delfin is passionate about intersectional justice and resilience, especially around the experiences of queer people of color. delfin currently serves on the board of directors for enfleshed.