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Time, Growth, and Fruitfulness
Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Then he said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a person took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and ‘the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.’” Again, he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, I believe in your goodness, I hope in your grace, and I love you for having loved me. Thank you for the gift of life. Help me have the humility to recognize that all good things come from you. Help me to be docile to your timing and to the spiritual process that is developing in my soul.
- The Kingdom of God: The Church started with a mustard seed—one person, Jesus Christ. He proclaimed the kingdom of God so that it began to grow, first with the Twelve Apostles, Mary, and the other holy women who followed Christ. Over time, it grew into an institution with a hierarchy, with dioceses and parishes. The kingdom of God takes time to grow. It is ever-developing. The same is true for each person who comes to know Christianity: Once the seed is planted, it needs time to develop in the individual’s heart until the full truth of the Gospel is embraced and the kingdom of God reigns in him or her.
- Spiritual Growth: Our own maturation in faith and virtue is similar to the process of the mustard seed. We go through stages, forming our minds and hearts and conforming them to the mind and heart of Christ. Gradually habits of virtue develop and the exercise of the theological virtues deepens. We become strong, rooting ourselves in faith even amidst difficult circumstances. Sometimes we’d like to run ahead, but we grow in holiness at the pace of the Holy Spirit. “The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit”(John 3:8).
- Shade and Nourishment: Today’s Gospel passage points out that when the mustard seed became a large bush, birds came to dwell in its branches, receiving shade and refreshment. The large bush was life-giving. Just as human beings go through a process of maturation before becoming parents, so too our spiritual life develops gradually to the point that it becomes life-giving. All true love brings forth new life. Being in love with God and living a life in communion with him generates spiritual motherhood and fatherhood. Others can find refreshment in “our branches.” “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Conversing with Christ: Dear Lord, grant me the grace to become a refuge for souls who seek your love. I want to remain in you, to live in communion with you, and to bear fruit for the kingdom of God.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will visit an adoration chapel to root myself in your presence in my life.
For Further Reflection: The podcast on Discerning Hearts entitled Dr. Mitchell A. Kalpakgian—The Virtues We Need Again on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregoron expounds on the building blocks we need to grow in the spiritual life.
Written by Renee Pomarico.