This is today’s gospel followed by commentary.
Gospel Matthew 13:31-35
A mustard seed becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.
Jesus put a parable before them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’
He told them another parable, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’
In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy:
I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Gospel Reflection, Monday, Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time, Matthew 13:31-35
The two parables Jesus speaks in this morning’s gospel reading are an image of his own ministry. His work in Galilee is like the mustard seed and the leaven; it is very small scale and to outsiders would have looked somewhat unpromising. Jesus has not been sweeping all before him. He has been going about his work quietly, without fanfare. Yet, the parables suggests that these small beginnings are the promise of something wonderful to come, just as the mustard seed becomes a tree where the birds of the air build their nests and the tiny leaven has a huge impact on three measures of flower. Humble beginnings can have an extraordinary outcome when the work in question is God’s work. There is an encouragement to us all to keep doing the little bit of good we are able to do. It may not seem much in our own eyes or in the eyes of others, yet God can work powerfully through whatever little good we do, in ways that will surprise us. We can all plant the equivalent of the mustard seed; we can all be the equivalent of the leaven. The little initiative, the small gesture, the offer of help, can all bear fruit in ways that we could never have imagined at the time. The Lord can work powerfully through our smallest efforts if they are done out of love for him. Our calling is often to plant some good seed and to trust that the Lord will do the rest.
The Gospel reflection comes from WEEKDAY REFLECTIONS: To know the love of Christ 2016/2017 by Martin Hogan published by The Messenger c/f www.messenger.ie