He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.”
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.
In “Letter from Birmingham City Jail,” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., refers to ordinary people who were suffering in the cause of justice as “leaven in the lump of the race.” Two years later, Vatican II employed the same metaphor in describing the Church’s relationship to the modern world. The church is “a leaven and, as it were, the soul of human society.” It is “a most certain seed of unity, hope and salvation for the whole human race.”
What joins a mustard seed, a bit of yeast, and a rag-tag group of disciples badly shaken in the wake of Jesus’s death with tens of thousands of protesters marching after George Floyd’s death? Are we seeing in our times the small yet powerful signs of a “leavening” of the human race?
Christ, let it be so. And let me do my part, this day, to leaven all that I do with your love.
—Christopher Pramuk is the University Chair of Ignatian Thought and Imagination and an associate professor of theology at Regis University.
Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself…
The real hope, then, is not in something we think we can do but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see. If we can do God’s will, we will be helping in this process. But we will not necessarily know all about it beforehand.
—Excerpt from “Letter to a Young Activist” by Thomas MertonPlease share the Good Word with your friends!