I have to confess that since yesterday I have been wrestling with the thought of not giving a homily today since our Gospel today is already a homily in itself. Here, we heard Jesus using 3 different parables or stories, yet conveying one and the same theme or meaning- i.e. the Kingdom of God. And more, he also gave a comment or an explanation of his parable.
But as I reflect on the gospel, the image of a small mustard seed remains in my mind, and I just wanted to say something about it. The gospel tells us that it is the smallest of all seeds, but when planted, it grows and becomes a big tree with branches for the birds to nest or to perch upon.
Honestly, I am not familiar with this image. I haven’t seen a mustard tree. So allow me to use a familiar image of a watermelon, just to drive out the point here. I am just amazed with the watermelon fruit. I just couldn’t imagine how can that very small seed grow and bear a fruit which maybe a hundred thousand times its size. It also makes me wonder the fact that it grows on the ground, but it has acquired a unique colour and a beautiful taste. It’s really wonderful.
However, my point here is not to wonder about watermelon but to wonder about how little things can grow into big things. This is the point in our Gospel today: that out of little things we can do big things, that out of our littleness, we can contribute towards the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God here and now. Sometimes in our life, we feel so little, so small, that we thought we couldn’t accomplish anything. Sometimes, we thought we are nothing, we are nobody, and that we can’t do anything on our own. But today Jesus tells us…our littleness can actually do great things for the kingdom. And here’s the good news, God has given each one of us ‘seed’ if not ‘seeds’ of the kingdom. He wants that we would plant it, nurture it, make it grow and bear fruit in us, for us and for others, and ultimately for God.
In 1998, a first-grader boy learned from his teacher, that people were dying because they didn’t have clean water to drink. That moved him to raise money to help those who are deprived of this basic necessity. For four months he did extra house chores just to earn his first $70- the amount his teacher told him the project would cost- to make a well in Africa. This humble initiative of a very young boy was made known to some people, and instantly became viral. People were moved and thus, they offered help to raise money for the well. So in 1999, Ryan Hreljac has opened his first well called Ryan’s Well in Uganda and from then on, it serves thousands of people. Ryan’s Well foundation is still continuing to operate up to now helping those people who are in great need, all because of the humble yet genuine initiative of a very young boy. All because he planted the seed of the kingdom in him, nurtured it and make it grow to bear fruit for the benefits of many. And like the mustard seed, no matter how small we are, we can do great things, we can bear good fruits, and we can serve many people.
As we continue our celebration today, let’s stop lamenting our littleness. Let us however examine ourselves and see what is/are the seed[s] of the Kingdom of God within us. Have we planted it yet? Have we nurtured it to bear fruit not only for ourselves but also for the benefits of all?
But let’s not forget, all this is not our doing, it’s God’s. We are only cooperating with him. Let us therefore allow him to be our friend and guide, our owner who would care for us even if ‘bad’ elements [weeds] are also growing alongside with us, one who knows our weakness yet continues to work with us, in us and through us. By doing this, we are contributing to the fulfilment of the Kingdom of God. Let this be our prayer.