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Many young people, as young as seventh and eighth grade, have feelings of hopelessness. Hey, so do I! Today we have Jesus explaining his idea of the kingdom, using the example of a mustard seed, “the smallest of all the seeds on the earth,” which grows large enough to shade the birds. Some commentators have been puzzled by this example because the mustard seed is not actually the smallest seed, and the mustard plant really is more like a weedy bush than a tree with branches. But notice in the picture, if left to grow, it establishes more mustard bushes and eventually spreads and becomes quite impressive! The point is that great things often begin from small things in which our Creator has stored great potential. The universe itself started that way. Animal and human bodies emerged from microscopic entities. Another point of the mustard seed is that success is not necessarily connected with the best start. There were bigger and better trees with their seeds growing in Jesus’ Palestine, and yet he chose this big weedy bush as his example of kingdom growth. At the heart of his example, and also of our Hebrew Scripture reading from Ezekiel, is the idea that it is God who gives the growth to the mustard seed. So the message is that there is an upward direction to life; life is going somewhere better. There is a power larger than ours at work in the world, and that little seed cannot be stopped. Sometimes it is difficult to see this because of the huge problems we know about in our world, the big world and sometimes our local worlds. We need Jesus’ reassurance through the image of the Kingdom and the mustard seed that there is hope. Most of us are just ordinary sorts of people; we don’t have the potential to become huge sycamores or cedars. But God does not need that of us, just that we allow the divine in us to develop so that we become a dwelling place for God, and a respite for all those who need our shade from the harshness of life.

— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

The post June 16, 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Kingdom: a Sunday Scriptures blog first appeared on Sisters of the Precious Blood.