Saturday, June 13, 2015

Mustard Seeds

“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth." Mark 4: 30

Faith, like a mustard seed, is a strange and wonderful gift that grows with and among us in ways we can never fathom. While many of us spend our lives teaching about it, faith's mystery always remains. Faith can never be quantified or measured, only treasured. And if we trust God completely, it grows, like the mustard seed, in volume and power.

I’m smiling as I write about "volume." I remember telling my mother in the first years after ordination that I often worried about my preaching. Was I making sense? Were people able to follow me? Was I clear enough? Mom listened to my concerns and told me to do what other priests seemed to do: If you are not sure of what to say next, say it louder. I must admit I have used her advice more than once, but always knew what was happening. When I arrived at a point in my own thinking or a homily where a leap of faith was required to let God do God’s work, I doubted. Rather than allow the word to do its work, to let faith, as small as a mustard seed, take root and grow in God's time, I spoke more forcefully when a pause or even silence was needed.

Only when we let go of our own need to be good, powerful and right can God open us to the wonders of the gift that God gives freely, completely and gratuitously. We cannot earn the gift of faith; we can only treasure it and give it away in compassion and justice.

Today, join the apostles and ask for an increase of faith for yourself and those closest to you.

What has caused faith to grow in you?

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