Archive for the ‘Mustard Seed’ Category

Fear of Death — Friday, 3rd Week of Ordinary Time—Year I

January 28, 2011

God permits us to feel a natural aversion to death. This is healthy and for our good. (Imagine what the world would be like if everyone were completely indifferent as to whether they lived or died.) However, for faithful Christians, there is no reason to be terrorized by a fear of death.

If you remain close to the sacraments and rooted in daily prayer you have no reason to be afraid. Maybe you feel ill-prepared to die, but like the seed that grows without the farmer understanding how, God is preparing you for the unending life of Heaven in ways you don’t even perceive. Like the mustard seed, we may go into the ground as seemingly small and weak human beings, but we will rise with a greatness and power that even delights and blesses the angels of Heaven.

A natural aversion to death is healthy, but for Christians a fear of death is out of place. For, as the Letter to the Hebrews says, “We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life.”

Faith Enough — 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time—Year C

October 3, 2010

The apostles say to Jesus, “Increase our faith.” They have faith, but they feel like it’s not enough so they ask for more. Jesus replies, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” In saying this, Jesus’ is not expressing disappointment in His disciples—He’s means to encourage them and us.

He wants us to understand that we have enough faith right now to be faithful in his service and to do incredible things. You have already enough faith to do what He asks you to do today. You need only to act upon it.

As we see with Habakkuk, we may need patience to see the fruits of our faithfulness. And as Paul reminds Timothy, we must put our faith into action. But the thing Jesus wants us to understand today is that we do not need to wait for more faith before we begin to be more faithful. We have already enough faith to do what He asks of us today.

If you had a perfect faith, what would you do? Try acting that way today, and you will find yourself living in faithfulness. Wouldn’t you like to see the difference that makes?

Jesus once called the mustard seed as the smallest of seeds. The mustard seed may be tiny, but its flavor is most powerful.  So it is with our faith.  The faith within us can be powerful despite its small size. A faith-filed Christian can transform the world. Think of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Her faith helped and blessed so many people. Our faith can do great good too, but we do well to remember Mother Teresa words, “We are called upon not to be successful, but to be faithful.” Our job is to be faithful. If we do that, the Lord take care of the miracles. 

After teaching the apostles about the incredible power of their faith, Jesus reminds them of them of the importance of their being humble. We need to remember that the He is the master, and we are only His servants. Like the sorcerer’s apprentice, if we try to work great magic on our own we will only make a mess of things. Our efforts and projects must be from Him, with Him, and for Him if they are to do any lasting good.

We need not wait for God to increase our faith to begin to be more faithful. Christ has already given us enough faith to begin transforming our lives, our families, our communities, and our world. But our efforts must be those of humble servants of Christ our Lord, from whom all good things come.

The Kingdom is Like… — Monday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time—Year II

July 26, 2010

Jesus says the Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed sown in a field, or like some yeast worked into three measures of dough. These passages are usually taken to describe how the Church, or the Christian faith, despite small beginnings, has spread and transformed the entire world for the better. This is a valid interpretation, but the Kingdom of heaven is not only an external reality; it is internally and personally experienced. Since the Scriptures are written not only by human authors, but by the Holy Spirit as well, every passage contains more than one true interpretation. Jesus’ similies also describe faith in the life of individual Christians.

At the beginning of one’s discipleship, the seed of faith is small and vulnerable. Any challenge or trial, any passing bird, can potentially come along and consume it. This seed of faith must be guarded, watered, and given light. This means vigilence, education, and contact with Christ in prayer and the sacraments. In time, faith grows to the point that trials and challenges are no longer a grave threat, but calmly accepted.

The faith of the Christian is also like yeast which is not meant to be merely kept in a jar in on the shelf, segregated to Church or private life. It is meant to be mixed into the whole of life; at home, at work, and everywhere, so that the entire batch of life will be transformed and raised.

If your faith is young and fledging, or a confined and isolated part of your life, be encouraged by the hope these passages promise. The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.