Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time - Fr. Adam Royal
June 13, 2021 - 11:00 AM
Jesus’ words are strange and a little disquieting, but I don’t think we usually hear them that way. I think we usually hear them as comforting and event triumphant. The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. It starts out small and unnoticed, but slowly it takes root. Then it begins to grow and that growth never stops. It surprises, until finally it becomes a great tree, a home for birds, a home for everyone. But this image isn’t accurate. In the 2,000 years since Jesus spoke those words and the thousands of miles that separate us from his homeland, we have for gotten that’s not what happens with mustard seeds. Mustard is not a rare and great tree that dazzles people by its size. In the time and place of Jesus, mustard was an ordinary and pervasive weed. When Jesus gave this parable his followers only had to look around and they would have seen mustard sprouting up everywhere. It was a scraggly and spindly bush. Like the weeds in our own gardens, it was a plant that no-one wanted, but everyone had. And this, according to the Lord, is the Kingdom of God.
God’s love is a like a weed. It is everywhere and it is resilient. Given even the smallest opportunity it will pop up and take over, pushing out and destroying human designs. And we should thank God that this is so because that means we can never escape it. We do not have to be perfect for God to love us, we just have to exist. Even if we run from him, he will chase us. When we sin he still loves us. When we turn our back on him and hide, and do everything in our power to escape his notice, he is still there. If we will open even the smallest of cracks within our heart and give the tiniest of room to him, God will show us his love. He will plant his love into our hearts and it will begin to grow.
It won’t be a pretty sight or an easy process. God’s love does not just comfort us, it also transforms us. Like the mustard plant, God’s love pushes out our designs and our plans to make room for itself. So long as we will freely allow it, his love will take over and make us into a new creation. He will teach us to love others just as he loves us.
Right now God is trying to show each of us his love. He is trying to enter our hearts and begin the process of healing and transforming us. Let us all make room for him. Let go of the things that separate us from God. Let go of sin, and anger, and bitterness, and allow God’s love to be planted. Allow it to take root and teach us how to love.