Give something, however small, to the one in need. For it is not small to one who has nothing. Neither is it small to God, if we have given what we could."
-St. Gregory Nazianzen
Gospel text (Mt 13:31-35): Jesus put another parable before them, «The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, that a man took and sowed in his field. It is smaller than all other seeds, but once it has fully grown, it is bigger than any garden plant; like a tree, the birds come and rest in its branches».
He told them another parable, «The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast that a woman took and buried in three measures of flour until the whole mass of dough began to rise». Jesus taught all this to the crowds by means of parables; He did not say anything to them without using a parable. So what the Prophet had said was fulfilled: ‘I will speak in parables. I will proclaim things kept secret since the beginning of the world’.
Today, the Gospel shows us Jesus preaching to his disciples. He does so, as is His custom, in the form of parables, using simple everyday images to explain the great hidden mysteries of His Kingdom. In this way he could be understood by everyone from the most highly educated to the simplest of individuals.
«The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed» (Mt 13:31) The mustard seed is so tiny it is almost invisible, but if we take good care of it and water it properly... it ends up becoming a large tree. «The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast that a woman took and buried in three measures of flour (...)» (Mt 13:33). The yeast is invisible, but if it weren't present the dough would not rise. Such is the way for life lived as a Christian, the life of grace: you don't see it externally; it doesn't make a sound, but… if one lets it introduce itself in one's heart, divine grace nourishes the seed and converts people from sinners to saints.
We get this divine grace through faith, through prayer, through the sacraments, through love. But this life of grace is, above all, a gift that we must wait and hope for, that we must desire with humility. A gift which the wise and learned of this world do not know how to appreciate, but that Our Lord God wants to transmit to the humble and uncomplicated.
It would be great if, when He looks for us, he finds us, not in the group of the proud, but amongst the humble, the ones who recognize themselves as weak sinners, but very grateful for, and trusting in, the goodness of the Lord. This way the mustard seed will grow into the large tree, the yeast of the Word of God will bring about for us the fruit of eternal life because «the more the heart is lowered in humility, the higher it is raised to perfection» (Saint Augustine).
Monday, July 26, 2010
Is Jesus saying one ought to look for the Kingdom of Heaven in the small?
Posted by Joe Reciniello at 3:52 PM
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