Mustard Seed of Faith
WE ARE GROWING AS A COMMUNITY!
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If you remember last Gospel, it’s a choice between following God and His commandments or being tempted by Satan and doing things the easy way or the things that make you feel good and might even lead you into mortal sin. I mentioned that if you had a mustard seed of faith and belief that there are a heaven and a hell, you might want to ask God in the Holy Spirit to come into your life and to start growing and teaching you and helping you live according to the Gospel.
Well, guess what?
This Sunday’s Gospel is about the mustard seed and I promise I do not look at Gospels in advance. It just freaks me out sometimes when I sit here and I read the week’s Gospel and I’m like, “Are you kidding me? I just mentioned that in my reflection on the Gospel last week.” Ha!
So—the benefit for you today is you are going to get two readings. One is the first reading and then the Gospel.
In the Catholic Church at Mass, the first reading is the Old Testament, the Old Covenant before Jesus Christ. And then the Gospel is the New Testament, the New Covenant after Jesus Christ is risen with the exception mind you, that during the Easter season for those 50 days before of the Holy Spirit comes down to earth and Jesus ascends to the right hand of the Father. During those 50 days, we read the New Testament in the first reading and in the Gospel reading. Why? Because we’re proclaiming that He is our Lord Jesus Christ and He was resurrected from the dead. So during the Easter season, that’s what we do. But that’s over now.
So it’s ordinary time (meaning nothing particularly special happening) the Eleventh Sunday. I’m going to read you the first reading the Old Testament from Ezekiel:
Reading 1 Ezekiel 17:22-24
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I, too, will take from the crest of the cedar,
from its topmost branches tear off a tender shoot,
and plant it on a high and lofty mountain;
on the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it.
It shall put forth branches and bear fruit,
and become a majestic cedar.
Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it,
every winged thing in the shade of its boughs.
And all the trees of the field shall know
that I, the LORD,
bring low the high tree,
lift high the lowly tree,
wither up the green tree,
and make the withered tree bloom.
As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do.
Now the Gospel, the New Testament, which is from Mark.
Gospel Mark 3:20-35
Jesus came home with his disciples.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him,
for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said,
“He is possessed by Beelzebul,”
and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”
Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables,
“How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself,
that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself
and is divided, he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property
unless he first ties up the strong man.
Then he can plunder the house.
Amen, I say to you,
all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin.”
For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
His mother and his brothers arrived.
Standing outside they sent word to him and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
“Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you.”
But he said to them in reply,
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”
When I started on my faith journey, I think I had a half of a half of a mustard seed of faith. I just went to Mass because it was in a diet book I had. It was a pie chart. One of the pieces of the pie chart said “spirituality.” I was only kind of halfway into it when I decided to go to church. I wasn’t even going to go to the Catholic Church because I didn’t believe in the teachings. I didn’t really understand the full Church even though I was confirmed a Catholic. I didn’t practice—I didn’t go to Mass—I didn’t learn anything, really.
But I went and that first day at Mass, Easter Sunday 2013, God, the Holy Spirit, put a thirst in me to understand what this “Catholic thing” was all about. And I wasn’t looking for Him—God. I truly believe that since I asked God to help me with my father’s surgery, which happened about a month prior to the Easter Sunday reunion with God, I kicked open the door a little bit for Him. I didn’t say, “Hey God, I need you for me.” I said, “God, I need you to help my father. I need you. I need you. I need you.” And I prayed and I prayed and I prayed for his full recovery.
Well, that was me asking for Him and inviting Him into my life—even though I didn’t realize it.
So that day after that Mass I left feeling different. That was the Holy Spirit starting to work in me.
Jesus spoke in parables/riddles and those who could hear would hear what He meant and those who couldn’t hear, wouldn’t. And this doesn’t mean people were deaf. Jesus was preaching to Jewish people, Pagans, Gentiles, all different religious backgrounds, faiths and beliefs and countries of origin. All different upbringings he was speaking to, and in the end you had to “have ears” to hear what he was saying. You had to have a little faith or openness to faith to understand the parables in which he was speaking.
So in my early part of my faith journey, some of this stuff I had no clue what He was talking about. My ears were not clear. My faith was not there yet, but I was growing in faith and that was God. The Holy Spirit working in me day after day, taking over and gracing me with joy and peace and most importantly, FAITH! And faith, in my opinion, is trust—that I trusted in God and God’s word and I wanted God to take over because the more He grew in me and the less I grew, the happier, the more peaceful, the more loving I became, and it continues like that.
So just like last week, take that mustard seed of faith and plant it. If you believe in Jesus Christ, go back to Mass. Go to Confession all you fallen-away Catholics. Ask the Holy Spirit to please open your heart and to enter your world. The graces that you will receive from God will be like no gift you have ever received on this planet, ever, ever, and you’ll be walking your way up that stairway to heaven and not that highway to hell.
If you are at all worried about if you die tomorrow and which direction you will go today, no more wasting time, no more waiting, no more, “Oh yeah, I’ll go to church next week” or whatever.
You have to start thinking that you don’t know the time that you will leave this earth! And eternity, if you at all believe that there’s a heaven or hell, is a VERY long time.
Now is the time. Take that sickle, the harvest is here!
Ask God again this week, “Please Lord, help me. Help me live like you have asked me and commanded me to live so that I can be in heaven with you forever.”
I’m anxious to hear how things go this week. See if God touches you. Share. Maybe there’s something that miraculously happens this week because you opened your heart and invited Him in … we would all love to know about that.
I look forward to hearing from you and as always, live in the light of God this week and have a blessed and inspired week—till then.