Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34
Ps 106:19-23 (with 1a)
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”
He spoke to them another parable.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened.”
All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:
I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.
Good News Reflection: What mustard seeds are you sowing?
What are your mustard seeds? We all have them. If you’ve been baptized, you have a pouch full of mustard seeds. They are the gifts and talents and resources that the Father has provided to you. Therefore, you are that person whom Jesus describes in today’s Gospel reading.
It doesn’t matter if your seeds seem too small to make a big difference. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that starts out very tiny, yet after it sprouts, grows and grows and eventually becomes a large, bushy tree. To see proof of this, go to the grocery store, buy a jar of mustard seeds from the spice aisle, and plant one seed in a paper cup at home. Water it, put it into the sunshine, and soon a plant will be springing to life and zooming in rapid growth. (Note: The mustard seed spoken of in this scripture is the Eastern Black Mustard seed, which is extremely tiny. The yellow seeds you buy in your grocery store can demonstrate the spiritual principle of amazing growth, but they won’t become the bush that grows in Israel.)
Today you’ll have an opportunity to plant a mustard seed in God’s kingdom somewhere. The seed might be as small as a word of encouragement that you give to a co-worker or a neighbor who’s feeling upset. Little words of hope, when planted with prayer and God’s power, take root even if the people you give them to forget what you said. The mustard seed you gave them will sprout into renewed strength that helps them work through their problems.
And unless the soil of their soul is hard and rocky, these young sprouts will develop branches that will spread hope in new directions, affecting more areas of their lives. The branches will develop leaves that provide them with shade from the heat of their difficulties, giving them endurance, so that they can strive forward to a solution that they hadn’t noticed before you entered their garden to provide seeds of encouragement, when they were still feeling angry and discouraged.
The mustard saplings will continue to grow as they become stronger in confidence, because confidence grows out of experiences that provide evidence that there’s reason to hope. The next time a similar problem happens, the mustard tree will shade them from despair.
This tree will further develop into one that’s big enough to provide leafy branches that others can “nest” in. This is what Jesus meant by the birds that come to dwell in the tree’s branches. The people in whom you sowed your itty bitty seeds will someday pass hope onto others by sharing the strength that they gained while growing through their hardships.
We won’t know the extent of the impact we make until we die and enter into the fullness of the kingdom of God. Purgatory will be a time of deep, inner heart-ache as we learn what happened when we withheld our seeds because we thought they were worthless. Heaven will be the discovery that even our tiniest gestures of holiness have made a beautiful difference.
God rejoices over every little thing we do for his kingdom.
My Lord, You have placed inside my heart the seed of Your Kingdom and the desire to follow You. Thank You Lord, for this gift, fruit of Your Love. Make it grow inside me and may it be poured out onto those who are looking for You with all their hearts. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica