Have you ever Google searched a mustard seed? Or have you ever seen one in person? Those things are pretty dang tiny (and even that might be an understatement).
That’s why I’ve always found today’s Gospel – and others like it – intriguing. The size of a mustard seed doesn’t lend itself to much. You wouldn’t expect much out of it upon sight. That’s where the intrigue lies, for when a mustard seed is planted, it grows into a large plant.
Today’s Gospel draws the comparison of the Kingdom of Heaven to the large bush that grows from a single mustard seed. The bush was large and fully-grown, attracting the birds of the sky to come and rest in its branches.
As I read those verses and try to imagine what Jesus must have meant with this parable, it struck me that our own understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven is much like a single mustard seed – small, to say the least. Yet, when the mustard seed is planted in the ground, something comes forth much larger and more beautiful than expected.
We have no earthly understanding of what the Kingdom of Heaven will be like and yet we are called to make the Kingdom of Heaven present here on earth. How can we make the Kingdom of Heaven known when we can’t even wrap our minds around it ourselves? It is certainly greater than any human words or comparison could ever hold. Instead, we entrust our mustard seed-like understanding to the Lord, plant the seed and work, allowing Him to take care of the rest. Eventually, one day, when we have finished our mission here on earth (and finished it well), we will be rewarded by our own presence in the Kingdom of Heaven.
My take from all of this is that the Lord can do a lot of good with just a little. Just a little what, though? A little faith. A little hope. A little love. A little trust, a little time and a little space in our lives and hearts. That’s all we need to give Him – though, hopefully, we end up giving the Lord more than that!
If you aren’t sure where to start, ask God to show you. That’s giving Him a little bit of room to work in your life while also giving Him a little bit of your faith.
Erin Madden is a Cleveland native and graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Following graduation, she began volunteering in youth ministry at her home parish of Holy Family Church. Her first “big girl” job was in collegiate sports information where, after a busy two years in the profession on top of serving the youth, she took a leap of faith and followed the Lord’s call to full-time youth ministry at St. Peter Church. She still hopes to use her communication arts degree as a freelance writer and statistician, though. You can catch her on the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter @erinmadden2016.