Consider the Mustard Seed

July 31, 2017 – Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the Book of Exodus (20:1-17)

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

He spoke to them another parable.
The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened.”

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:

I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.

 

Reflect: The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. Jesus simply but powerfully illustrates the relatable imagery in this parable. A mustard seed is tiny and insignificant. It appears to have no consequence for anything; yet, it can grow into a huge bush that serves as home and respite to the birds of the air. What appeared valueless serves a great purpose! Jesus wants us to recognize that what the world may consider to be of little value – his word, his life, the Kingdom of God – has an amazing purpose.  The challenge for us as disciples is to trust that God can and will use us to make his presence known in the world. We might feel restless. We might think that we don’t make a difference in God’s plan. We may be tempted to cave in to the emptiness of sin that attracts us and steers us away from God. In the first reading today from the Book of Exodus (chapter 32), the people of God become restless and distracted waiting for Moses; meanwhile, Moses was detained because God was revealing to him the Ten Commandments. They lost heart and gave in to their desires. The people God had saved from slavery in Egypt built a calf out of gold to worship as their new god. Jesus wants us to trust and not lose hope. He wants us to believe that as disciples we can make the Kingdom of God known to a world hungry to experience Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life. Even if we feel as if we are of little value, God will use us to do great things for his honor and glory.

Questions: Do I find myself thinking that I’m of no significance for the Kingdom of God? Do I trust that God can use me in powerful ways to advance his presence in the world? Can I pray an act of trust and abandonment to God today, asking him to use me as he sees fit for his honor and glory?

Pray: Loving God, you are capable of doing awesome works with what is considered valueless. You made me in your image and likeness. Help me to believe that you call me to be a vibrant disciple who can serve a significant role in making your presence known in the world. Help me to never lose heart, but to trust in your holy will. I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola: Pray for us!

Born in 1491 in northern Spain, Ignatius spent his youth gambling, fighting, and vying for the affections of noblewomen. While fighting a battle in Pamplona, he suffered a severe leg injury. During his long recovery, he read the life of Jesus and the stories of the saints which stirred him to conversion. After a period of intense penances, he went to study in Paris where he met Francis Xavier, Peter Faber, and the other original members of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). In the last fifteen years of his life, Ignatius led the order from its headquarters in Rome, writing nearly 7,000 letters to encourage and guide his brothers. He died in 1556.

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