MONDAY OF THE SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
In today's Gospel, Jesus is again speaking in parables. This time it is the parable of the mustard seed and the leaven.
Parables are frequent in the Synoptic Gospels. Jesus's parables conceal and reveal the divine mysteries by comparing earthly scenarios to heavenly mysteries. The humble look deeper into the parable's meaning to search out God's revelation while the purpose remains hidden from the proud. Parables in their negative function are a judgment on those who are faithless and unbelieving.
The parable of the mustard seed.
Mustard seeds are among the smallest seeds, yet the mature shrub is nearly ten feet in height. Jesus begins spreading the message of the kingdom of heaven with a small group of disciples, but he expects His word to spread to the whole world.
The parable of the leaven.
Three measures equal about 50 pounds of meal! A little leaven is all it takes to leaven a considerable amount of meal. This is the grace of the kingdom that sanctifies the entire world. It is also you and me and our ability to spread the Word of God to all around us.
Jesus wants to reveal the mysteries of the kingdom to those that are simple and docile to the Gospel. We don't need a centuries-old parable to know we must remain close to the Lord, listen, and accept His word to grow strong (like the shrub) in faith. To be the yeast, we must live in the world while maintaining our Christian beliefs. While we seek holiness for ourselves, we also should help other souls, leading them through the obstacles of life to the Lord.
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