Growing in Faith

Luke 13: 18-21
Rom 8:18-25 / Ps 126

What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden.
(Luke 13:18)

Like a mustard seed or leaven dough
May we be changed in mind and soul,
Slowly but surely in spirit grow
To reach our everlasting goal.

Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.” Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.” (Luke 13:18-21)


It seems our Lord was quite fond of using seeds as an analogy for His teachings. We are all familiar with His parable of the sower, where seeds were sown in different kinds of soil (Mt.13:1-8), and only a few grew, but produced abundantly. His parable of the good seed and the weeds (Mt. 13:24-30), shows that good and evil co-exist in the world. In citing the power of faith, Jesus taught, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” (Lk.17:6) And in prophesying His own death, He said, “Amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” (Jn.12:24) He also likened the kingdom of God to a seed that grows by itself without man’s intervention (Mk. 4:26-29). But in today’s Gospel, the kingdom of God is more graphically compared to a mustard seed — so small and insignificant at the start, but grows into a large shrub that can accommodate birds of the sky in its branches.

It is the Holy Spirit Who plants the seeds of God’s kingdom in our hearts. In most instances, we may not be aware of it, as ‘of its own accord it grows’ (Mk.4:28) from a very small seed to a plant yielding abundant fruits. In our Christian Life Program’s ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit,’ I failed to experience any manifestation of the Spirit, and was initially disheartened, seeing as many of the other participants were either ‘slain’ by the Spirit, speaking in tongues, or breaking down with ‘the gift of tears’. It was only years later when I came to realize that external manifestations, like the fig tree full of leaves in Matthew 21:19 do not necessarily a productive disciple make.

My life in the renewal was like a small insignificant seed that germinated in the fertile soil of our BCBP community. Nourished by the Word of God, and sustained by the fire of the Holy Spirit, it grew and branched out in the mission of sharing the Good News of God’s kingdom. The kingdom of God is all about transformation. It starts with a casual invitation to a breakfast fellowship, like a small amount of yeast mixed into a large amount of flour – the warm fellowship of the members, the spirited songs, the moving life testimony– like an abundance of bread that nourishes a hungry soul. The experience grows quietly in our hearts and we may not take notice. But somehow, we come back for more. It is just a small amount at first, but the Holy Spirit will make our faith grow, and in time it will bear fruit abundantly. And no force on earth can withstand the will of God Who has planted it.

Dear Father, our Lord Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is among you” (Lk.17:21). Grant that we may always nourish Your kingdom in our hearts by meditating on Your Word daily, and receiving Him constantly in the Holy Eucharist. Amen.

Comments are closed.