A Reflection on the Daily Gospel by Deacon Kevin Heim
Time for the midsummer quiz!
Monday, July 27, 2020
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.
Summertime and a time for cookouts – what would the lowly hot dog be without a hearty dose of mustard, whether the familiar yellow or the robust stone-ground brown, or a freshly toasted hotdog bun?
But faith as a mustard seed? In the Middle East, it really does grow to the size of a small tree. It is no less a miracle than the combining of two single cells – one female and one male) to form a human being.
For a Midwest kid of eleven, the mystery grew to be a pain in the posterior. The patch was only about eight feet tall and four by eight feet, but for someone less than five feet tall, it might have been trees across ten acres (about five square blocks for the uninitiated) The task was to clear the patch before it went to seed, multiplying the chore even further. And we think dandelions are bad! The solution was to pull one at a time and the job became a little easier as each plant pulled loosened the earth around the next. When I think about it, it was like the parable in reverse – instead of growing, it was taking apart. But back to the parable. Each mustard plant produces several thousand seeds and each seed can grow to produce several thousand seeds, etc. etc, etc. (or if you prefer yada, yada, yada)
Yeast is another amazing organism. Without it breads would be flat, beer insipid and wine merely grape juice. And that summer get together probably just as flat.
Together they make the point that while our faith may be nearly non-existent, it has the potential to grow and reproduce with those around us.
“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”
― Thomas Merton