Fr. Gerard D’Souza, OCSO
30th Tuesday in Ordinary Time
The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It does not come as a great and strong wind that tears the mountains and breaks in pieces the rocks, nor like an earthquake nor a like a fire. It is the tiniest of seeds because it is not an imposition or a takeover but rather a gentle invitation to look in a different direction. A direction we have previously ignored.
Even though it is tiny, there is no mistaking its presence. Elijah experienced the earthquake and the strong wind and the fire but only when he heard the still, small voice did he wrap his face in his cloak. Similarly there is no mistaking when the tiny mustard seed of the kingdom is present. It is no doubt planted in the ground of the heart and it is intertwined with it, smells of the earth but it is different because it comes from above. It cannot be co-opted by us, nor willed out of existence. It has a life of its own. We experience the presence of a persistent, quiet, I dare say, intruder that has stolen in, we know not how but the intruder has slipped in. It is a holy disruption. We can, of course, continue to ignore the disruption and the mustard seed may die. Or we can, even reluctantly, welcome the intruder and open the barred places of the heart.
The mustard seed was never planted to remain the tiniest of seeds but to become the biggest of plants. It comes as a disruption but ultimately it is meant to become an integrating principle. Its branches spread out into every corner of the heart. The birds of the sky dwell in its branches. The birds of the sky have been identified with wicked ones or even the demons. I would like to think that our passions which otherwise run wild and cause us so many problems can be brought under the integrating power of faith in us. They can now be used in the service of the kingdom of God as weapons of righteousness rather than as weapons of wickedness. The integration is such that our former self no longer occupies center stage but has given first place to the inward momentum of the kingdom. Like Paul, ‘I live, no not I, but Christ lives in me’.
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