Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us regarding the kingdom of God being present in our midst, within our Church and our Christian communities. In the Gospel passage, the Lord Jesus taught the people using parables in order to show them the truth of the kingdom of God, and how they ought to live in accordance with the way of God’s kingdom.
In that parable, the Lord showed the people that His kingdom is like that of a mustard seed that may first appear to be small, but then is capable of growing into a large tree, that has many branches and shows the amazing nature of how such a small seed can produce such a significant, large and important tree. This is what the Lord used, comparing the kingdom of God to that growing tree of mustard seed.
And then, He also used the example of flour and yeast, in which when the yeast is placed within the flour mixture in the dough, and then left standing, the dough will rise and become wholesome, from ordinary flour into life-giving and sustaining bread as we are familiar with. This is yet another example that the Lord used, comparing the process of the making of bread with the coming of the kingdom of God.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, both parables did not mention it, but in the minds of the people who heard it, many of whom were farmers and also were involved in the making of bread for their living, they must surely have been aware of what are the necessary conditions that will allow the mustard seed to grow and for the dough to rise and become a bread. Without the right conditions in place, none of those will happen.
The mustard seed needs to be placed in a rich and fertile soil, just as another parable, the parable of the sower mentioned. Only on rich and fertile soil, will the mustard seed grow well into a large and healthy tree, and also with all the right conditions and needs required by any green plants, that is water, sunlight, minerals, the right temperature and level of humidity, and in the right kind of environment and conditions.
Similarly, the yeast that is put in flour needs to be activated first by placing them in warm water, or otherwise, the yeast will remain dormant, as yeast is a microorganism that requires the right temperature to function properly. And then, yeast will only catalyse the formation of leavened bread when the yeast and dough mixture is placed in the right place and given the right conditions, that is in the absence of oxygen. That is why, the mixture must be sealed to allow all the oxygen surrounding the mixture to be used up, and yeast can do its work.
How are these relevant to us, then, brothers and sisters in Christ? This is exactly how we welcome the kingdom of God into our lives, and how we allow the kingdom of God to grow and prosper within us, through the providence of the right conditions and the right environment for the kingdom of God to prosper in our midst, and that is, first and foremost, within the most important unit and part of the Church, that is our families.
In the first reading today, St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Ephesus, spoke about the important framework of the Christian families, which God has made and blessed, by the union between a man and a woman, in the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony, through which the man and the woman are joined in a holy and indivisible union blessed by God, the core of the Christian family.
And St. Paul told his message to the Christians of Ephesus and also for others, with the intention of reminding them all to remain true to their Christian matrimony and family bonds, and each husbands ought to respect their respective wives, and vice versa. This message was quite revolutionary in the midst of a society where adultery and sexual promiscuity were very common, at a time when there were plenty of wickedness within the society.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is what all of us need to realise, that we must make sure that the foundation of our Christian families are strong, and founded upon the firm foundation of God’s love and truth. And how do we preserve that love within our families, that we do not end up having broken relationships and families? It is by ensuring that we stay together as a family, praying together and placing God at the very centre and as the very focus of our lives and our actions.
The devil knows this fact, and that is why he is constantly on the attack to try to destroy the institution of marriage and the family, by tempting us with various worldly temptations, the temptations of sexual perversion and immorality, adultery and other persuasions, in order to break apart our families and societies. When we are broken, then it is the right time and condition for the devil to strike at us. That is why, we need to deepen our relationship with God, within our families and ensure that our families are always centred on God and in prayer, at all times.
That is also how we provide the best and optimum environment for us Christians to grow in faith, and in love and devotion towards God. The family is like a miniature Church, and indeed, is its important subset, through which the whole Church rises together and grows in faith, through the correct nurturing of faith in our every Christian generations. As we pass on the faith, we also help to gain more and more souls saved for the Lord.
That is how the kingdom of God exists in our lives, within our families and within our society. God truly works in His mysterious ways, and now, brothers and sisters, are we willing to commit ourselves to continue the good works that the Lord has started in our midst, and allow the kingdom of God to flourish in our midst, and bring more souls to the salvation in God. Let us all redouble our efforts to serve the Lord and to love God with all of our hearts, minds and our whole being. May God be with us all, and may He bless us in our endeavours. Amen.