A Word #155| 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time| July 23, 2017

"Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?"

It's incredible to even comprehend how the tiniest of things can grow into something beautiful and awe-inspiring. Just think about it: a human has its origin as a microscopic cell, a seed that can barely be seen or touched can grow into a beautiful plant that either flowers or stretches it's branches to the sky, and even an idea that can seem inconceivable can change the world. None of these experiences are remote or foreign to us since we can experience them in the here and now. There are many other examples, in particular, the seed of faith. Regrettably faith is often something that is taken for granted. I am not suggesting that any of us are faithless, however, for many, the seed of faith is never nurtured or used for what it intended. Much like everything else that begins small, if the seed of faith is given the right conditions to mature and develop, our life of faith has the ability to do incredible things for self, others, and the entire world. This is precisely the message Jesus is delivering to us today.

Jesus utilizes the image of seeds to illustrate a person of faith or in His words, those who are of the Kingdom of God and those who are not. The first description is something quite familiar to us especially those who have flower beds and gardens! Every plant originates as a seed, including weeds! The second image Jesus offers is the mustard seed. The mustard seed was believed to be the smallest of all seeds. It was remarkable for a person in ancient Palestine as it is for a little child today to see such a small beginning sprout into a plant that reaches to the heavens. Finally, Jesus draws on the use of yeast in baking bread. Yeast is nothing but a dormant organism unless it is given the right conditions to be active and useful. Take your pick among these three images Jesus is describing, what it means to be part of His Kingdom.

Much like a single seed or a cluster of yeast, faith is nothing if it isn't used for what it was intended to be used for. Faith like a seed or yeast needs the right conditions to blossom and be active. Faith is really not faith if we only take it out on Sunday only to put it away in the cupboard Monday through Saturday. Imagine if we only watered our plants once a week, especially in a hot and arid climate? Our plants will certainly die the same as truth with faith. Yet unlike plants, we can today revive our faith and uproot such weeds of apathy, laziness, resentment by doing something! 

To be a part of the kingdom of God, a man or woman of faith must be a visible sign for others of who you or I have been created and redeemed to be! We would consider a gardener absurd or out of their mind if they covered their flower bed with a blanket so hiding its beauty from others to see, so is the same with a person of faith. Such a person, a disciple goes out and brings beauty to the world, it contributes to what is good in the world, and may, like a mustard seed or yeast, provide shelter and food to others. This is precisely what builds up the Kingdom of God in the here and now and what strengthens our Una Familia here at St. Anthony of Padua.

Today ask Jesus in this Eucharist to provide for you the right conditions and grace-filled nutrients to allow the seed and yeast of faith to sprout and become active. It takes cooperation and effort, but just imagine that the littlest can often be the greatest! Go out and be all that you can be as men or women of faith!

Yours in Christ,

 

Fr. John