The Smallest for the Greatest

Matthew 13: 31-35
Ex 32:15-24,30-34/Ps 106:19-23

It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full grown it is the largest of shrubs.
(Matthew 13:3)

To make the bread of life expand,
Mix a pinch of love as yeast, and knead,
Christ’s parables we’ll understand
With faith as small as a mustard seed.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 13: 31-35)

Reflection

When He spoke in parables, Jesus did not intend to confuse His listeners, or to hide the true meaning of His teachings. He was in fact being faithful to Scriptures, fulfilling what was prophesied in Psalms 78:2- “I will open my mouth in story, drawing lessons from of old.” He clothed His messages in parables in order to make them relevant to the contemporary setting, but at the same time they are meant to be allegorical, to highlight the truth for all generations to understand throughout human history.

His kingdom on earth for instance, (which is our Church), started out like a tiny mustard seed (just a few apostles), but is now like a great tree, home for many birds in its branches — various Christian denominations, all children of the One True God. Our Church has also been like a yeast, mixed in with so much flour — the millions of former unbelievers among us, who would never have risen above their apathy or faithless state, had they not been transformed by the Gospel values of Jesus Christ.

When we first joined the renewal, our faith was only a small mustard seed; but through the constant reading of the Word of God, this faith has grown as big as a tree. We have also become the yeast in the Kingdom of God. Like “the salt of the earth” that permeates the bland, and “the light on the lamp stand that dispels the darkness,” God’s “yeast” will make His Church expand to all the corners of the earth. It is true that out of the many who are called, only a few are chosen, but in God’s kingdom, like a pint of salt or a single candle, a lump of yeast or a mustard seed, only a little is required to make a great difference.

Yesterday, we celebrated Mission Sunday. Inspired by the homily of the priest who said we are all mandated to be missionaries where God has put us, I recall the Bible study and sharing that we conduct periodically with our BIL brothers in the depressed areas of our city. In one Sunday Gospel, we reflected on how Jesus fed five thousand men from five loaves and two fish. One brother commented that our Brotherhood (BIL) had already reached about ten thousand members, won over to “Bro. Jess” from a mere dozen servants (“atsoys) who started the first batch over 40 years ago. Just like our diocesan priests, who are so few, with a ratio of one to 20,000 parishioners, and yet some of them still go periodically on mission to such places like Papua New Guinea or other parts of Asia to spread the Catholic faith. Hundreds of thousands of our “modern Gentiles” have been converted to the Catholic faith, transformed by such a “small measure of yeast”.

Like the tiny host that we receive when You come to us, Lord Jesus, so little is required to make the whole body renewed in Your Spirit. Thank You, Master for Your parables. Make us worthy to be the yeast of Your kingdom. Amen.

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