He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
This is the first thing Jesus does NOT say in today’s Gospel: Here is your faith, a mustard seed. Put your mustard seed of faith in your pocket, because that is all the faith you need. This is the second thing Jesus does NOT say in today’s Gospel: Here is your faith, yeast. Keep your yeast of faith locked in the refrigerator so that it does not die. Neither one of these are actual images of faith for Jesus—even though they are for us sometimes.
Faith for Jesus is not a noun, it is not a mustard seed, and it is not yeast. Faith for Jesus is a verb in today’s Gospel. Faith is a mustard seed that is planted. Faith is yeast that is mixed. For us today what this means is that, when our faith is static or sterile, it is in fact not faith at all. Jesus is challenging us to recognize the active nature of our faith.
Jesus reminds us that faith is a gift that is given to us. But we need to mix and plant this faith in our everyday lives and in the lives of our neighbors and community. In other words, we could substitute “faith” for “love” in St. Ignatius’ famous quote. So that, after today’s Gospel, it would read, “Faith ought to show itself more in deeds than in words.”
—Adam DeLeon, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic studying theology in preparation for ordination at Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA.
Lord, whenever we doubt our potential to lead a life of significance help us to remember who sowed us. When we feel unworthy or overwhelmed help us to hear your voice that reminds us that you knew exactly which gifts we needed ( and did not need) to build your kingdom.
Grant us the grace to guard against comparing ourselves to others. And, Lord, should we feel discouraged or begin to underestimate our contribution, remind us that someone needs us to keep on growing!
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!