The Gospel Today
Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 13: 31-35
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.
Reflection (Sem. Emmanuel Calumpong):
“Great things come from small beginnings.” I could still remember this line and its tune which was the opening scene of an energy drink commercial many years ago. And indeed that commercial captured the audience when it presented a young athlete who was disappointed after struggling to perfect a sport discipline but eventually won the gold in a competition.
Today’s Gospel presents two figures: the mustard seed, regarded as the smallest of seeds, and the yeast, considered even to be a symbol of corruption. Insignificant and unworthy they may be, the Lord chooses them to represent God’s surprising and even mind-boggling works. The Kingdom of God can even start from lowly origins and even disappointing beginnings. It does not start with a bang, an awesome sign or noisy fanfare for it usually grows unnoticed.
The Lord can use even the most unworthy or empower the least expected people. For example, just think of the fishermen, the skeptic, the tax collector and the murderer of Christians who eventually became Peter, Andrew, James and John, Thomas, Matthew and Paul, respectively. Nobody expected them to be the ones who would share love for the Lord and the people, yet they did. There are still a lot of them, even in our times, who continue to be the Lord’s instruments and channels of His love and salvation.
The Gospel also speaks of my role and yours in building the Kingdom of God. No effort is too small for this great undertaking because nothing goes unnoticed in the eyes of the Lord. Nothing much is required but we just need to submit our unworthiness and littleness to the Lord and allow ourselves to be mustards and yeast in His hands.