The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home
October 6, 2019 – 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Luke 17:5-10
Jesus knew that good seeds were important. During his lifetime food was always in short supply. Israel was mostly barren desert. Good seeds ensured survival. Even today, one of the most important ways our world is being made better is through the acquisition of good seeds especially in impoverished areas. Help people grow grain and other seed-based foods and hunger can be overcome. Don’t underestimate the value of tiny seeds.
Jesus was always trying to find effective ways to explain deep and complex truths. He was an excellent teacher. So he searched for “teaching aids” to assist him. One day he found a mustard seed lying on the ground. This is perfect, he thought. So he put it in his pocket and carried it with him wherever he went. One day he would need that seed.
After dinner one evening, his apostles were feeling down. Not much was happening that indicated that Jesus was enjoying much success in his ministry. So they asked Jesus to increase their faith and confidence. They needed a boost to their spirits.
Jesus reached into his pocket and pulled out that tiny seed. It took a while for him to find it. It was very small. Pinching it between his thumb and forefinger, he showed it to them. “See how small this seed is? That’s a measure of the faith that’s needed to make that tree over there uproot and be planted in the sea.” Such an example really got their attention. In other words, a little goes a long way.
Another way to think about this seed image is to believe that God can work miracles with just a little help from us. It’s good to remember (very good sometimes) that if we do our best, however little that might seem, it will be enough. So take comfort, you parents and anyone who is trying to make things better, that it’s not always necessary for us to be fully in control with lots of power at hand. Do what you can -- and know that in God’s Kingdom, that may be quite enough. Do your tiny bit, and let God add the rest.
The gift of our lives, Jesus reminds us, is filled with paradox. Small can grow large, weakness can become strength, and even death can result in fuller life.
©David Thomas, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org)