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July 29, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014; Seventeenth Monday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 13:1-11.  This people shall be like a loincloth which is good for nothing.                                                                                                                           Matthew 13:31-35The mustard seed becomes a large bush and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.

Gospel Reflection:

Praised be Jesus Christ! For evermore!

This seems simple enough.  Who here has a garden?  A mustard seed is certainly not the smallest seed; not like a celery seed, or a carrot.  Sesame, flax, nor basil neither.  Nor is the mustard the largest of plants – just look around us at the redwoods and sequoia of our forests. So what is it the Lord wants us to compare to?

The mustard, while not the smallest is relatively small of course.  And so, we see a small group – Jesus, his Apostles, and a small loyal group of disciples. A pretty humble beginning for a kingdom.  And a small group causing quite a scandal to Judaism.  And while not the largest of shrubs, the mustard is pretty invasive once it gets growing and it’s everywhere! And before you know it: it bolts, and it takes off.  Like Christianity, which will spread and grow into a worldwide church.  And as the Gentiles nations land in its branches, the Lord emphasizes the need to accept the Gentiles.

From humble beginnings, we now have a giant family. What are we to do now?  Here leaven is used in a positive light.  We, as followers of The Way, each go out into the world, and make our mark.  We take our little bit of leaven, our effort, and give rise to a significant amount of meal.  As we continue to do our part in bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world – what we do matters, how we help, matters.  Until the whole batch was leavened (Matt 13:33). Persevere.  Until the whole world is leavened.

Finally, Jesus spoke to the crowd in nothing but parables that day.  He refers to the prophet, and here the Scripture refers us to Psalm 78:2 and the prophet Asaph.  You might remember Asaph from 2 Chronicles, participating in A Rite of Expiation: trying to get the temple right; trying to get the worship right.  Like Jeremiah after him; trying to fix the wrongs.

Scott Hahn writes, “Jesus uses parables for two purposes: to reveal and conceal divine mysteries.  Parables invite the humble to reach behind the image and lay hold of God’s truth.  Parables sketch out earthly scenarios that reveal heavenly mysteries. Conversely, they obstruct the proud and conceal divine mysteries from the unworthy.”

And so, parables are a form of revelation, not of concealment.  Jesus speaks parables for the benefit of believers – us! – and the judgment of unbelievers – plenty of them!  But as long as we believe and promote the Gospel, then like leavened bread, Hope will continue to rise up all over the world.




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