The beauty of being a Christian is that aside from being alive and present, our Lord and Savior is always inviting us to listen to Him. He always provides us with opportunities for learning and growth in our love for Heavenly things. In the Gospel, the Lord spoke about the similarity of the Kingdom of God with the mustard seed: after it is planted, it grows, until in time it “becomes the largest of the plants in the garden, and grows branches so big, that the birds of the air can take shelter in its shade.” (Mk. 4: 32). This describes the way how the Kingdom of God develops in each of us and in the world. When first heard, the Word of God, isn’t spectacular, nor is it noisy, it just grows and produces fruit as it makes us new. God is so loving, that He has continued planting human mustard seeds all the way to the end. Most importantly, Jesus showed the example: he started small in a lowly manger and grew up under poor but loving parents Joseph and Mary. This family was so poor that one could think how come God could allow that to happen! They encountered all forms of challenges, from poverty, to Herod during Jesus infancy, to the chief priests, all the way to the Cross. Despite those trials and oppressions, Jesus managed to love one and all unconditionally and leave behind a legacy that is compelling, timeless and universal. He truly became a “magnificent tree” where all humanity can take shelter and refuge.
To become a useful mustard tree in God’s own garden, what is important is for us to listen to the Word. Just like the tiny mustard seed, each of us has our own mission in life. We were created for a purpose. As long as we listen, in spite of the challenges and opposing forces, the Kingdom of God grows steadily in our hearts. It continues to nourish and inspire us to do what is good and inspiring. We cannot be selective in the stuff that we do especially that we sometimes disregard small things and go for the big ones instead. Here we are reminded that we have to take the cloak of humility and look at ourselves as small seeds that will have to die, in order to grow the big tree that is the Kingdom of God. Each of us will have to be planted, grown and harvested in the end.
What are your gifts to others, starting with your family, and then eventually friends and community, and whoever God sends your way? Are you already aware of the gifts that God has given you? If you have reach bigness, God wants you to provide shade to others, just like the mustard plant. If you haven’t understood yet your mission, you must go through a process of discernment to know God’s will for your life, through a spiritual guide that is carefully chosen. This process will enable you to appreciate how much you are a part of God’s Kingdom. Else, the opposite kingdom will get you, as what Fr. Tanseco, S.J. said.
St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians connects with this theme as it describes the end of our lives when we have “to appear before the tribunal of Christ for each one to receive what he deserves for his good or evil deeds in this present life”. St. Paul exhorts us to live by faith, and to “think that we would rather be away from the body to go and live with the Lord”. (2 Cor. 5: 6-10) Yes, after growing deeply in faith, we already know how it’ll be in the end. Our lives then become an offering to the Lord. We won’t think of our own anymore; what is important is how all that we are fit into the plan of the Divine. We become selfless. We become conscious that whoever saves his life will lose it.
Yes, we are all important in the Kingdom of God. Like the mustard seed, we have to grow and spread our branches to give shade to others. In a way, Fr. Armand said it aptly, that as Champions, we have “to inspire others with the passions that matter to them. The operative word is passion, the enabling word is meekness, the indicative word is inspiration”.