Monday, 27 July 2020 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us heard the readings from the Scriptures in which we heard the manifestation of God’s anger at His people’s disobedience and lack of faith as they constantly and consistently refused to listen to Him and continued to follow the path of sin instead of the path of the truth. Through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord wanted to make it clear to His people that it was by their stubbornness and refusal to believe in Him that they would face ruin and destruction.

And the destruction did come upon the people of God, of both Israel and Judah, crushed by their enemies and exiled from their lands, as a result of them putting their trust in their own might and power, in worldly power and alliances, in their pagan idols and gods rather than to trust in God. God had sent so many prophets and messengers to them, showed them signs and revelations and yet they still would not believe.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard something similar to this as the Lord spoke to His people in parables, teaching them about the kingdom of heaven and its meaning. And the Lord highlighted to His disciples that He always taught in parables and spoke in cryptic terms so as to both reveal the meaning of the truth He brought to those who are willing to listen to them, and to hide them from those who have hardened their hearts and refused to listen to Him.

This brings us then into the realisation that unless we are willing to embrace the Lord and His ways, then we will not be able to appreciate fully His truth and love, and we will not be able to embrace Him fully as we should have. And this is also shown through the parable that the Lord used in explaining the kingdom of heaven, the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the yeast and three measures of flour.

In all these parables, the Lord brought forth the fact of how those little things like mustard seed and yeast, mustard seed being one of the smallest among the seeds and yeast being very small and microscopic in size, were able to grow into immense proportions beyond imagination. The mustard seed grow into a relatively large tree with many branches while the yeast allow the dough to rise quite significantly in size.

The significance of this is such that subtly, the Lord is telling us that we need to make ourselves small and insignificant before God, minuscule and tiny, if we want to grow and be truly great before Him. It is by discarding all sorts of pride and greed, ego and ambition, selfishness and hubris, and instead embracing humility and meekness that we will be able to grow in faith. Unless we humble ourselves, we will be too full of ourselves to be able to nurture ourselves with the love of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, then, similarly, for the mustard seeds to grow and for the yeast to be able to make the dough to rise, they require specific conditions that if not fulfilled, then those things will not be able to happen. The mustard seeds need water, the right temperature and oxygen in the air to germinate, and later on will also need nutrients from the soil and sunlight to grow well into a great tree. Similarly, yeast also need the absence of oxygen and warm conditions for them to be able to function and make the dough rise. If the conditions are not fulfilled for either of them, then nothing good would have come out of them.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to live faithfully in God’s presence so as to provide the best condition for ourselves to grow in the sight of God, to grow like the mustard seed and to rise like the dough with yeast? We are all called to be good and fruitful Christians in life, and we should indeed do what we can to serve God and to dedicate ourselves to Him and to His ways, to be righteous and to be exemplary in how we act in our everyday living that by our faith, we become God’s shining examples.

Let us all therefore not harden our hearts and minds as what the people of God had once done, and instead, allow God to enter into our hearts and minds by making ourselves small before Him, humbling ourselves and dedicating ourselves to Him with all of our heart and with all of our strength. May the Lord be with us always and may He strengthen us all each and every moments of our lives that we may truly grow well in the faith and bear wonderful, bountiful fruits, now and always. Amen.

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