Jesus teaches the Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Virtue of Hope so he can reject despair and always hope in Divine Providence and building the Virtue of Meekness so he can humbly rely on God’s unfailing help to become a Saint.
17th Week in Ordinary time – Monday – Mt 13:31-35
In The Parable of the Mustard Seed, Jesus describes that the mustard seed, despite being often referred to as the smallest seed, grows into the greatest of shrubs, in which many birds can build their nests. The parable builds on Old Testament references to a coming kingdom, likened to a great tree, that offers comfort to many nations (Ezek 31:2-13; Dan 4:12). The parable inspires hope that the Kingdom of Jesus will come despite starting very small; Acts 1:15 numbers the disciples after Jesus’ Ascension at only 120 people. Like the mustard plant provides a home and savory seeds that feed the birds, the Holy Catholic Church will be home to multitudes of birds, an allusion to the Gentile nations, feeding them with most savory of food, the Eucharist. For the individual, the parable reveals that while most men start with only a small seed of faith, with time and persistence of prayer (Lk 11:1-13) every soul can grow into the great tree of sainthood.
In The Parable of the Leaven, Jesus confirms the spread of the Kingdom of God is far-reaching, depending on the transformational and mysterious impact of the Word of God. The Gospel of Jesus, though it starts small and almost invisible, like hidden leaven, will have a disproportionally high impact in evangelizing the whole world, like small amounts of leaven can cause an enormous amount of flour to rise. Jesus speaks in parables to convert the humble and hungry of heart, fulfilling the prophecy He inspired an Old Testament prophet to write (Ps 78:2).
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be impressed by how Jesus, the Divine Prophet, constructs these ingenious parables: with Divine Knowledge, which is outside of time, in the service of Truth (a part of Justice), Jesus is not speculating, but confirming that His Holy Catholic Church will grow throughout the whole world; the perfect demonstration of Faith and Hope, though He has, or needs, neither, for He is one with the Father, Jesus helps men to have a Logical (a part of Reason) basis by using common analogies (mustard seed, leaven) for believing and hoping in the grace of God.
Reject despair, and hope in Divine Providence
Realize: Dwelling upon the darkness of the growing evil in the world and the turmoil in the Church can lead to despair (a sin against Hope); every Catholic man can remain firm in hope because God has Divine Providence over everyone and everything.
Believe: Reflect upon the Sin of Despair (CCC 2091) and the Virtue of Hope (CCC 1817-1821).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Providence, help me build the Virtue of Hope so I frequently remember Your promise to build Your Kingdom, I do not despair of the growing darkness, and joyously live, knowing Your Divine Providence will easily prevail over all evil.
Meekly rely on God’s help to become a saint
Realize: Growing in the spiritual life is arduous and takes a lifetime, and men sometimes become frustrated and impatient when they perceive their progress is slow, perhaps conditioned by the modern world in which they can quickly get what they want “on demand.”
Believe: Reflect upon the Virtue of Meekness (CCC 1803-1804, 736, 1825, 1832, 2613).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Meekness (a part of Temperance) so I accept my inherent sinfulness and how far I am from sainthood, I reject frustration at my imperfection, and I patiently and persistently rely completely upon Your help to become a saint in Your Kingdom.