June 14, 2015 - 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
If you were to Google mustard seed, you would quickly discover that the mustard seed is not the smallest of the seeds. And while the mustard tree can grow to be quite large, it is certainly not the largest of the trees.
What we have to understand is that Jesus is not at all concerned with these facts. Jesus is trying to paint a picture for us. He's giving an illustration to make a point. So, what's the point?
Well, for starters, the seed is very small in comparison to the tree. And somehow the seed when planted in the ground grows to become a strong, sturdy tree. How this happens is one of the mysteries of God's majestic creation.
What begins as the smallest little bit of a thing, when planted and watered and nurtured, grows and develops and becomes well-rooted, strong and sturdy. Jesus says, faith is like that! God the Father plants the seed of faith in the hearts of all his children.
The seed of faith planted in our hearts is like the mustard seed. It takes just the smallest amount of faith. Just a little bit.
In baptism, the seed is watered. At the Eucharistic table, the seed is fed by Jesus' body and blood. The seed is nurtured with reconciliation and compassion and healing. The seed is warmed by the fire of love.
Then slowly, over time, almost undetected, that little seed of faith in us sprouts and grows to be like the majestic cedar or sturdy cyprus or grand oak or tall pine.
Our tiny faith can grow to be strong, well-rooted, unshakable. And it only takes the smallest amount.
Isn't that wonderful for us humans. Why? Because we have our questions, the what ifs and whys of life. We have our doubts and fears, our desire to seek out facts and our need for proof.
But Jesus doesn't give us facts and he certainly doesn’t give us proof. Jesus gives us an illustration. He says even if our faith is so small that it is merely the size of a mustard seed, all is not lost. That little bit is enough.
Jesus is really echoing the words of the Prophet Ezekiel. Listen again to what Ezekiel says about trees in the first reading. The Lord brings low the high tree and lifts high the low tree. The Lord withers the green tree and makes the withered tree bloom.
The Lord is saying, I will lift up the lowly. I will feed the hungry. I will comfort those who are suffering. I will give new life to those who are anxious and depressed.
Jesus looks with favor on those who struggle with their faith. Jesus look with favor on those who question and doubt. Jesus look with favor on those who suffer and mourn.
So let us rejoice today and be mindful that faith the size of a mustard seed can already be found in all our hearts.
If we nurture and feed this little bit of faith with Jesus' body and blood in the Eucharist we share here today, then it can grow and become unique, beautiful, majestic, strong and sturdy.
Our little bit of faith can grow to become just like the cedar, just like the cypress, just like the oak, just like the pine. And it all begins with faith the size of a mustard seed.