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  • Writer's pictureFr. Gustavo

"The Kingdom is like a small seed..."

A small plant with a tiny flower
The Kingdom is like a small seed...

Way back when, when I was in second grade our teacher gave us some homework to do.


We were to insert a tall piece of construction paper inside a tall glass.  We wanted to press snuggly against the glass.  Then, we were asked to place two fresh butter beans – and in my days, one could buy fresh beans still in their shells.


We were to place two beans, one opposite the other in between the paper and the glass, somewhere midway from the bottom to the top.  Then, we would need to place a cotton ball at the bottom of the glass and sprinkle some tap water.  Then, we were to place the experiment near a window, with plenty of light, but not direct sunlight.


Eventually, after a couple of days, the little seeds – one before the other – began to sprout a little foot.  Then, the stalk appeared, and in no time, began to head its way up.  Sometime, in its way up, it began to sprout two even smaller branches, which eventually developed into leaves.


And there it was.  Before the eyes of a second grader, the miracle of life!  Out of a non-descript shell, a bean, and a new plant growing.


Life developing – somehow mysteriously out of itself – in front of my very own eyes!  The miracle of life! And that’s the way of the kingdom!


About five hundred years before Jesus, a poet wrote, (Isaiah 35),


The wilderness and desert will be glad...  The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.  Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy!


The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.  There the Lord will display his glory, the splendor of our God.


With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees.  Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming.  He is coming to save you.”


And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf.  The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!  Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.  The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land.


That, my friends, is what Jesus may have had in mind when He said, “The kingdom of God is like…”


When those who have been hurting are embraced and comforted.  When lives resembling wastelands sprout back into life.  When people are allowed to grow and develop at their own pace, away from the culture of “give me more” or “trying to be like the Jones’”, there is the kingdom at work.


When people stop hearing about fire, brimstone, and condemnation and begin to hear about God’s forgiving mercy and unquenchable love, there is the kingdom at work.  There joy in abundance begins to flow.


When redeeming hope rather than fear is being preached, there is the kingdom.  When those who are wearied are offered rest, when those who are suffering under the weight of their own faults are offered an umpteenth opportunity, a hand to support them in their struggles, there is the kingdom. 


When those who are struggling on their journey to discover themselves find support and understanding, there is the kingdom.  Whenever people stop recriminating others for their wrongs, and people begin to pull out the logs out of their own eyes, there is the kingdom, there is life.


When the new creation is preached and people begin to believe, and when people stop craving for more and begin to share what they have, even as little as it may be, there is the kingdom at work.


Where there is life, life abundant, life with a capital “L”, there is the kingdom.


Today, of course, agriculture cannot wait for little kids germinating individual seeds.  But on the other hand, even a small, wide-eyed kid, can let the miracle of life begin. 


Yes, there is room for megachurches and cathedrals.  But the miracle of new life can happen – as it has happened here, in our own St David’s – in this mustard seed sized country congregation.


And here is the good news.  “Not by might,” said the Lord.  Not by size of a church or by the power of money and the well-connected, or by gizmos and technology.  Or by jumping on the bandwagon of the political buzzwords of the day, but by God’s Spirit.


“Be strong, and do not fear, for your God, our God is already present working out the miracle of life in yearning-for-God hearts.”


My brothers and sisters – Look up!  Wherever you are, look up!  For the fields are ripe for the harvest of the kingdom!  Start looking with the wide eyes of a second grader.  Sounds crazy?  Well, not for nothing Jesus said that God’s kingdom belongs to those who are like children.


To see it happen in front of your eyes, you just only need one thing – The good seed of God’s love.  Plant it wherever you go. 

In Ezekiel’s prophetic words, “Plant it, in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit and become a noble cedar.  Plant a seed which eventually will grow to be a home of every kind of bird will live and under the shade of its branches flocks will make their nest.”


If on your way you happen to meet someone where it is obvious that the good seed of God’s love is beginning to grow, nurture it with the heavenly dew of God’s love.  Be mindful that before becoming imposing and majestic trees, every single one started as a tender twig.


And as we cultivate the seed of God’s love through kindness, civility, compassion, and acceptance, it will grow beyond expectations, and it will become more beautiful than we ever dreamed possible.


Now, let us offer our God the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.  As the Psalmist encourages us, “Let us sing of God’s loving-kindness early in the morning, and of God’s faithfulness in the night.”


Fr. Gustavo

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