By Fr. Dennis Chriszt, C.PP.S.
For those who’ve never seen one:
a mustard seed is just a bit bigger than the period that ends this sentence.
It is indeed a very small seed.
Sometimes we think we need to have great faith,
we need to do great things,
to deserve the salvation Christ has already won for us.
Today, Jesus tells us,
we only need faith the size of a mustard seed.
It is not that a mustard seed’s worth of faith is a lot,
it is that when added to the faith Christ has in us,
all things are possible.
The tree pictured above is a mustard tree,
and while most mustard today grows in fields,
the point is clear.
The prophet Ezekiel, in today’s first reading,
uses a similar image.
A small tender shoot taken from the top of a cedar can,
when planted become a mighty tree in its own right,
especially when planted by the hand of God.
The hand of God can plant a tender shoot or a tiny mustard seed,
and wonder of wonders,
a great tree will grow.
We, like the farmer in today’s first Gospel parable,
don’t understand all of the inner workings of seed germination,
but we rejoice to see it grow,
and are blessed by the fruits it produces.
God has planted a mustard seed in us.
God has planted a tender shoot in our hearts.
We, in wonder and gratitude, are called to give thanks.
Though we do not know how or why,
we do know that God’s favor rests on us,
for God has planted salvation within us.
When I was young and foolish,
I often acted as if I had to have great faith,
I had to do great things to prove to God and others
that I deserved the salvation Christ had one for us.
I now know that it all depends on God,
a God who sent his only Son
that we might be saved through him.
Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world,
but that we might we saved.
I hope that the mustard seed of faith,
the tender shoot of salvation,
have grown in me.
but I have come to know,
that as mysteriously as seeds scattered
grow into fields of crops,
God’s grace has grown in me.
I also know that the same is happening in you,
and in all God’s people.
Instead of judging ourselves or others,
we need to simply rejoice
and wait with patience
for the day of the harvest.
Unlike seeds planted in fields today,
the growth of the seeds planted by God is uneven,
and each one of us blooms and bears fruit
at different time.
Yet the tender shoot and the tiny seed
are deep within each person,
waiting as the earth and rain,
and the hand of God to nourishes us
until that day when we bear fruit.
Thanks be to God!
Fr. Dennis Chriszt, C.PP.S., is the director of advanced formation for the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. He also directs Precious Blood Parish Missions (pbparishmissions.org).