– 30th Week in Ordinary Time –
Tuesday 27th October
Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed into the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.’ [Luke 13:18-19]
Not all mustard seeds germinate. Not all germinated mustard seedlings grow very large. Some get to six feet, although a few can reach up to twenty. As a scripture scholar once noted, “mustard trees are better described as shrubs, and would fall over if so much as a chook landed in them.”
Jesus is not worried about the potential inaccuracy of the image, and to take it to its logical conclusion would be to miss the point. So what is the point? Think of how small and unassuming the seed is – scarcely enough to attract attention by itself. Seemingly fragile and quickly lost; this is the seed Jesus identifies as containing within itself the kingdom of God.
Relate that idea to what happens in and around you today. Being attentive to the seemingly insignificant things is a discipline that each of us is to allow to develop within us. It reminds us of the ancient Catholic discipline of taking time each day (or even twice a day) to think back over the intervening period and become mindful of what we did or did not do.
At any given moment, every living thing is either growing or dying. Taking that as a foundational principle, each of us is invited to contemplate those little points of growth throughout the day where we sought to incarnate the love of God in our lives, and those small points of death where we turned our backs on love or lost sight of it on our way.
The emphasis is on identifying action rather than thoughts or feelings, for love for God is real when we act on it.
It is not a question of becoming scrupulous or beating ourselves up over our neglect or failures. To do so would be to take our focus off what we are to do next – allowing God to incarnate his love in our lives and the lives of others going forward. However, it does take the mustard seed seriously and understands that in the seemingly small and insignificant actions of our lives, the entire kingdom of God resides.
By Shane Dwyer
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