Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable. 36 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 13: 31-35)
Today many Christians are anxious and fearful about the present and the future.
There is a lot to concern all of us. The changes in our culture, Covid, the economy, the future of the governmental institution, concern over loved ones, and the list grows.
In the midst of all of these situations, Jesus speaks about the Kingdom of God in today’s Gospel in a way that should fill us with hope.
Jesus’ listeners felt themselves a very small minority surrounded by hostile forces. The Scribes, Pharisees and Herodians were already conspiring to kill Jesus. They saw the power of the Roman army, the hostility of the religious leaders, the rejection of those in the cities to whom they had gone to preach who met them with hardened soil by the wayside. They knew their human limitations and were likely tempted on many occasions to question whether what they were doing was a hopeless enterprise. Jesus in today’s Gospel was reminding them that even though the kingdom may seem powerless and tiny, it’s not.
He reminds that if we let our faith grow and transform us, our entire life changes. As we change, we become a beacon for Jesus Christ. The peace and hope that floods our hearts is noticeable. The ability to turn the other cheek and forgive is overwhelming to those that are the recipients if the forgiveness. The determination that no matter what the world throws at us, we can be secure because we walk in his light. In that security lies a totally different perspective that shapes our decisions, reflects our language, and allows us to know true peace.
The Lord Jesus wants us to become the living 21st century illustration of this parable. He wants us to have the opportunity to experience the exhilarating growth of the mustard seed.
As we root ourselves in him, we have every hope that, just like thousands of times before us in the history of Christianity, we’ll get bigger again and many others will be able to nest in the branches that will come from this union. Christian influence rather than waning will wax. We just need to trust in him like the first Christians. We need to trust in him like the pioneer generations of lay faithful in parishes who sacrificed so much to build Churches on firm foundations.
It begins with a simple self-declaration that says: “Today I turn myself over to Jesus Christ. Today, and every day, I will take time to be with him in prayer. Today and every day. I will be quiet and listen to him speak to me in scripture. Today and every day, I will end my day by examining how many times I was like him.
I will grow in His love and in that growth, I will reflect his words and actions. In doing so, I will become a beacon of his love.”
Prayer of The Day
“Heavenly Father, fill me with your Holy Spirit and transform me into the Christ-like holiness you desire. Increase my zeal for your kingdom and instill in me a holy desire to live for your greater glory.”
The tiny mustard seed literally grew to be a tree which attracted numerous birds because they loved the little black mustard seed it produced. God’s kingdom works in a similar fashion. It starts from the smallest beginnings in the hearts of men and women who are receptive to God’s word. And it works unseen and causes a transformation from within. Leaven is also a powerful agent of change. A lump of dough left to itself remains just what it is, a lump of dough. But when the leaven is added to it a transformation takes place which produces rich and wholesome bread when heated – the staple of life for humans.