June 17, 2018: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Pope Francis’ thoughts on the mustard seed from October 31, 2017 homily at Santa Marta :
Courage is needed for the Kingdom of God to grow
At Mass, Pope Francis spoke about the courage to dirty one’s hand in sowing the seed and mixing the yeast to help the Kingdom of God to grow.
To help the Kingdom of God grow, courage is needed to sow the mustard seed and mix the yeast, in the face of many who prefer a “pastoral care of conservation” without dirtying their hands. Pope Francis made the point in his homily at Mass, Tuesday morning, in the chapel of the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta. The Pope took his cue from Luke’s Gospel where Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed and yeast, which though small, “have a power within” to grow.
Suffering to glory
In his Letter to the Romans, the Pope said, St. Paul speaks about the many anxieties of life that are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us. Commenting on the struggle between suffering and glory, the Pope said, in our sufferings there is in fact “an ardent expectation” for a “great revelation of the Kingdom of God”. It is an expectation that belongs not only to us but also to creation, that is frail like us whoa are yearning for the “revelation of the children of God”. This inner strength that leads us to hope for the fullness of the Kingdom of God, the Pope pointed out, is the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit brings hope, growth
The Pope said it is this hope that leads us to fullness, the hope of coming out of this prison, this limitation, this slavery, this corruption, and reaching glory, is a journey of hope. And hope, the Pope said, is the gift of the Holy Spirit who is in us and leads us to liberation, to great glory. This is why Jesus says that inside this tiny mustard seed there is the force that “unleashes an unimaginable growth’ “. It is the same within us and in creation, the Pope pointed out. It is the the Holy Spirit that bursts forth and gives us hope.
Getting hands dirty rather than being museum custodians
The Pope noted that in the Church one can see both the courage and the fear to sow the seed and mix the yeast. There are those who feel secure with a “pastoral care of conservation,” that denies the Kingdom of God to grow. The Pope admitted there is always some loss in sowing the Kingdom of God. One loses the seed and gets hands dirty. He warned those who preach the Kingdom of God with the illusion of not getting dirty. Comparing them to museum custodians, he said they prefer beautiful things without sowing that allows the inner force to burst forth, and without mixing the yeast that triggers growth.
The Pope said that both Jesus and Paul point to this passing from the slavery of sin to the fullness of glory. It speaks of hope that does not disappoint, because like a mustard seed and yeast, hope is small and humble like a servant but where there is hope, there is the Holy Ghost, who carries forward the Kingdom of God, the Pope added.
Video of Pope Francis’ homily on the mustard seed:
First Reading: Ezekiel 17:22-24
Psalm: 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16
Second Reading: 2nd Corinthians 5:6-10
Gospel: Mark 4:26-34
Catechism of the Catholic Church
God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures’ co-operation. This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God’s greatness and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of co-operating in the accomplishment of his plan. (306)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the, Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Love is also expressed in the generous attention shown to the elderly who live in families: their presence can take on great value. They are an example of connections between generations, a resource for the well-being of the family and of the whole of society: “Not only do they show that there are aspects of life — human, cultural, moral and social values — which cannot be judged in terms of economic efficiency, but they can also make an effective contribution in the work-place and in leadership roles. In short, it is not just a question of doing something for older people, but also of accepting them in a realistic way as partners in shared projects — at the level of thought, dialogue and action”. As the Sacred Scripture says: “They still bring forth fruit in old age” (Ps 92:15). The elderly constitute an important school of life, capable of transmitting values and traditions, and of fostering the growth of younger generations, who thus learn to seek not only their own good but also that of others. If the elderly are in situations where they experience suffering and dependence, not only do they need health care services and appropriate assistance, but — and above all — they need to be treated with love.
We don’t need faith the size of a palm tree seed, weighing up to forty pounds, or the size of an avocado seed weighing a few ounces, or the size of a cucumber seed almost negligible on a scale. Jesus says we just need faith the size of a mustard seed, one of the smallest seeds in creation. A mustard seeds weighs only .000004409 of a pound, for over 225,000 seeds per pound. Conveyed through a parable, Jesus reminds us our faith does not have to be gigantic to do HIs will, live His peace and proclaim the Gospel. A mustard seed of faith has that inherent spark of life to grow and spread forth a canopy to embrace the rich breadth of Catholic thought. A seed that matures by cracking open to sprout, bursting forth to embrace the elements of creation, water, sun and soil, to become a tree with twenty foot breadth and height, so with faith we open ourselves to the goodness of all creation embracing all humanity if faith is alive in our soul. What empowers even a small mustard seed of faith to become a bush providing comfort and beauty as co-creators in God’s kingdom? Courage, not of dominance, displacing others or brazen actions, but the seed of faith within granting us the audacity to venture forth even when fear permeates the environment. A lifetime of vigorous growth and study. For we walk with faith, an unseen commodity, not a visual reality discernible with one’s eyes. A parable of paradox. A parable of mystery. A parable only understood by a disciple. How do you define the parable of faith you are living? What analogy do you foster? We must not articulate in words and actions a parable that shrinks the Gospel canopy to accommodate only a few who define “truth” for one’s comfort zone, while demonizing others. We must see our seed of faith grow within a diversity of seeds nurtured, bringing goodness to foster creation. We must also help withered plants to revitalize themselves. How we live our paradigm of faith must exclaim thanks to the Lord for the Word of God placed in our lives by kindness and enduring faithfulness even when sinister agendas may seem to sap our roots dry. For while God is the sovereign master of the Divine plan, we materially participate in HIs plan of creation by being attentive, available and acting to accomplish HIs justice, which is nourished by the seed of faith planted in our hearts.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16
June 20th is World Refugee Day
How can your parish educate parishioners and the broader community about the challenges of refugees and support their journey in your community?
Family Reflection: Mark 4:26-34
June 21st is the longest day of the year and start of summer. Enjoy a picnic!
Prayer: Thank God for all the beautiful plants of creation. Take pictures of some of your favorite plants and share the pictures as an act of thanksgiving.
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born June 9, 2018 Immaculate Heart of Mary The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.