Greatness always begins in seed form. A few examples reveal this: Each of us began as an embryo; the 300-foot redwood trees on the West Coast of the United States began growing quietly, invisibly, spreading their roots under the earth; scientists claim that the universe began from a tiny point, no larger than the head of a pin, and after the big bang it has continued to expand. The same is true, Jesus tells us, for the Kingdom of God.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is like seed that is scattered and yields a large crop. It is like the mustard seed that begins as the smallest seed and then grows to become the largest of plants. How can we deny the veracity of Jesus’ words when we look at the fact that the Church is present in every part of the world today?
Jesus Christ is the Kingdom of God in the flesh. He came to establish God’s Kingdom on earth; and the Church, which is his bride, is meant to continue to spread the Kingdom of God. Jesus, the head and founder of the Church, began with twelve apostles. Today, there are more than one billion Catholics and more than one billion non-Catholic Christians in the world. That, my friends, is the power of the seed.
So how does this parable of the seed apply to us as individual Christians commissioned by Christ to live the Gospel? Just as the first Apostles were able to spread the Gospel in the early Church by staying united to Christ, we are also called to spread the Gospel, to be instruments of the Kingdom, by staying spiritually united to Christ. We are mustard seeds, for the mustard seed is the one Christian who is totally committed to living in friendship with Jesus and spreading the Gospel. One Christian might seem insignificant. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta felt insignificant too; however, the impact she had on the Church and the world is still being felt today.
In the reading this Sunday from the second Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul tells us to “walk by faith, not by sight.” It takes faith to believe that the tiny mustard seed will grow into a large plant. It takes faith to believe that we can be instruments to spread the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. There is power in the seed. There is also spiritual power in us when we stay united to Christ. The Church, which began as a mustard seed, will continue to flourish if each of us remains united to Jesus and committed to spreading the Gospel.