This week we had the formal announcement of the timetable of Pope Francis visit to the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in August. The world meeting should be a reaffirmation of what it means to be a Catholic family in today’s world. Of course many people will have their own interpretation of this and in todays world of equality and peoples rights the whole idea of the Christian family is constantly under attack by those who say family is something different to what it really is. If we look at the Holy Family of Nazareth we need look no further to see what we as Catholics mean when we talk about family. Also this Sunday in one of our neighbouring parishes we have an ordination to the priesthood and we pray for Deacon Tony McAleese as he begins his priestly ministry in our diocese.
In this weekend’s Gospel we hear the story of the mustard seed the faith that we have is represented by the mustard seed and that faith is something all of us need to nourish. The Kingdom of God is like a tiny seed planted within each of us. It’s a strong seed, like those seeds that push their way through the clay in order to grow toward the light.
Gardeners out there will know that as we nurture the small mustard seed we have expectations for it and this is true for the seed of faith too. Sometimes our expectations are fulfilled, sometimes not. Other times, we don’t know how, but we find ourselves bearing the fruits of joy, compassion, peace, generosity, faith-fullness, gentleness, and thanksgiving for the wonder of it all. Then we know our growth in faith is a partnership with god and, while we can care for the seed, we can’t make it grow or flower or reproduce without nurturing it. The parable of the seed shows us that there is an almighty power working for us through the smallest thing the mustard seed. Our part is to do a good job preparing the soil of our hearts and then when we plant the seed we let God take over. As we see the Church continues to grow; for the Lord, not people, gives the spiritual growth. The Church will adjust and flourish in the future just as it has in the past. And when we are confronted with all kinds of things that run against what we believe in we should not despair, the Church not only lives on through the muddle and the mire of the world, it actually grows.
We also grow like the mustard seed as long as we do everything possible to stay united in faith with the Church. For in the face of turmoil, outside and within us, God is with us.