The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Masses this past weekend were filled with the familiar faces of those kept away by COVID for so long. It is exciting to see many parishioners returning to this parish. Of course, there are so many other good indicators of our return to some sense of normal life.
However, as we all learned through experience, the COVID situation caused many challenges. As the pastor or administrator here at St. Mary parish, I can tell you the disruption in our communal life has caused many ministries and groups to dissolve. Our monetary resources are also very small. It seems like we are starting from ground zero or at least very little.
But today’s Gospel provides good news. God always provides just what we need (maybe not what we want) at the perfect time. In today’s Gospel, in the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Apostle Mark provides us with Our Lord’s proclamation on the Kingdom of God. He describes the Kingdom of God. Jesus uses the image of the tiny mustard seed. It is the tiniest of seeds but results in the greatest of plants. It becomes so large and nourishing that birds nest there and find the best nourishment and protection in its branches and leaves.
This parable seems perfect to me at this time. Given my assessment of the impact of COVID on our parish, I can now see that mustard seed message our Lord provides us. I guess we should be grateful for the mustard seed we do have and even more hopeful for the potential that God will provide. With His Grace and our faith in Him, we will take our mustard seed and confidently grow toward something great!
The other important aspect of this image of the Kingdom of God as a mustard seed has to do with the illusions or distractions of our culture. No one expects this tiny seed to produce the greatest plant. In a similar way, our culture does not focus or even acknowledge the tiny, seemingly insignificant movements of God’s grace. It seems like our culture, the media, the major influencers of our world seem to focus on the bigger, more visible, fascinating or sensational actions at work around us. The world does not want to see or acknowledge the tiny, small actions. But our Lord is cluing us in on those very small, tiny graces of God. This is how he builds His Kingdom!
This is a very relevant message for us all. No matter how small or seemingly insignificant activity you take on…or how small that resource seems, God has a GREAT, HUGE plan in store. We cannot be discouraged by small, little acts of goodness or tiny resources!
“…once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants….” Mk 4:32