In the Gospel of today, we get a glimpse of what the Kingdom of God looks like through the parable of the mustard seed. One aspect of the Kingdom of God is the need to grow in faith and to be witnesses to Christ in this world by living our faith in action in our daily lives.
The parable reflects a parallel to our spiritual life, where we are constantly growing in holiness and towards the making of Christ as the centre of our lives. Faith needs time and patience to grow naturally. This is aided by the help of a consistent relationship with God and the community of believers; and oftentimes, there is a vast potential within the seeds, like the mustard seed, that far surpass our expectations of what the seeds may do.
Using an analogy from agriculture, the farmer can get a good yield from the seeds that he has planted by taking the following steps:-
- Sowing the seeds in a soil that has been prepared and is conditioned with good nutrients and water,
- Stepping back and waiting patiently for the seeds to germinate, grow roots and slowly begin sprouting, in the good soil that had been previously prepared,
- Waiting for the appropriate time to harvest the crops.
The last step is often the most difficult step. The novice farmer may be tempted to dig up the seeds every other hour to check if they are growing. The lack of patience and trust that the seeds, while hidden in the secret darkness of the soil, are doing what they need to do to grow and bear a harvest, would prove detrimental to the novice farmer who keeps digging out the seeds to check if they are growing at every hour.
Our spiritual life finds its resonance in precisely such seasons of planting, growth, nurturing, and harvest.
Like the seeds, we need the right environment that allows faith to grow and mature. Once the environment is correct then we need to stay for the long term in this environment and learn to live there and not leave as soon as something goes wrong. Developing a life of prayer and reading Word of God enables us to see the graces and virtues that we have developed over the years.
By the virtue of baptism, we have access to the rich sacraments. The sacraments are the nutrients that enable and empower our faith to take root and grow.
Participating in the sacrament of the Eucharist, reuniting with our Father through the sacrament of reconciliation, spending time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Rosary, spending daily quiet time in prayer and reading the Scriptures are our spiritual nourishments that enable us to be open to His graces and virtues and enable us to stay rooted in him. The conscious participation in these sacraments are essential for growth as the sun is for the plant.
When we participate wholly in these sacraments and devotions, we develop a relationship with our Lord and when we develop a relationship with our Lord we grow. This growth bears witness to him before others wherever we go and whatever we do , in how we live our life , in the choices that we make , in the lives that we touch.
As it is the work of the sun, soil and water, we need to be part of a community, helping one another. To sustain a holistic faith, a private relationship with our Lord will not be enough. We definitely need to be in a community of believers, with Christ as the head of that community of believers.
Let us, therefore, be the mustard seed that grows with other believers and goes out in the world to be witnesses of Christ by the way we live and be present in world to be a leaven for change and discipleship.
The mustard seed is tiny, but it can indeed yield a phenomenal harvest.