Midweek Fellowship – July 26, 2017
Fr. Roberto M. Jorvina
God is good all the time! This is a truth that we should never ever forget because the goodness and the love of God is what should fill our hearts and our minds. It is a love that we cannot comprehend with our human understanding. It takes the Holy Spirit Who has poured His presence in our hearts, Who has poured out the love of God in our hearts that helps us understand and realize this.
Our theme for the past weeks has been on the Scripture in Luke 24:48 where Jesus said, “You are witnesses of these things.” The context is that this witness of what Christ has done in our lives, we are part and we have the responsibility to share with people that we meet in our daily lives.
We are glad for the work that is going on in Vietnam. If you have the burden for Vietnam, begin to pray for it and who knows, you may be called to be a minister. We can’t just be limited here. God is at work. There are other opportunities. This Sunday, we will be together with our Diocesan parishes. We will begin to see the vastness and the influence that we are having. In a few weeks, we will be starting our Mission Church in Pasay. God is at work and we have been called to be witnesses of the things of God.
To become a follower of Jesus and to be a witness entails a price, a cost. Yes, there are blessings, but the blessings also come with a responsibility. It comes with a challenge for all of us. What has been the effect of God’s resurrection power and life in us? Are we touched? Are we changed? Are we transformed?
The Word of God is given not for information, but for transformation. It is there to change us, not to just make us feel good It is there to begin the work that is in our lives, to have an effect, not only in us, but with the people that we encounter. Is it having an effect on our lives?
When we feel ill and we take medicine, do we get the immediate effect that we want to relieve us? If not, maybe, it was the wrong medicine or there is something more in our body that needs to be addressed. In this physical thing that we experience, there is also a connection with the spiritual things in our lives. Are we growing in the teachings that we hear every Sunday and every Wednesday? It should! There should be a greater hunger for the things and the ways of God. There should be a greater hunger to say, “Lord, with Your help, I want to change. I want to be a better person.”
The Word of God should have an effect in our lives, otherwise, what is the use of the things that we do in life? God’s seed is incorruptible and imperishable. This seed is in us, but it depends on the soil that it was planted in. Are we nurturing the seed that was planted in our lives? It takes more than just a few planting. It takes a real living.
Jesus was in a culture that was surrounded by planting and seeds. He would always take the principle of the Kingdom and parallel it with the principle of the seed. Following the parable of the wheat and the tares, Jesus gave another parable before the explanation of the former. From Mark 4:30, Jesus said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God?” First, Jesus gives a question to make us think. He doesn’t give us the answer at once. In our lives, we want instant results, “Lord, please answer my prayer. What will I do?” Maybe, Jesus answers it through the questions in our lives for us to hear what the Holy Spirit is telling us.
After asking the question, Jesus answers, “It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet, when it is sown, grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.”
We are in Ordinary Time and it is all about the kingdom of God. We are children of the Kingdom; we are sons and daughters of the Kingdom. What is the kingdom of God? Jesus answers by means of illustration. If you would look at Matthew, Mark, and Luke, there are many illustrations about the kingdom of God which are also about planting and seeds. Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds, but when it is sown, it grows up.
I would like to draw out two things to this challenge that Jesus gave about the kingdom of God. One is about the seed and what it happens to it, and the other thing is the one who plants. We are going to look at the one who plants because with the seed, we don’t have any control. The seed is in itself. It works and is destined to work.
How can the seed work in our lives? First, the seed must be sown. “It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil.” We need to sow the seed. Nothing will happen if we don’t sow it. Are we sowing? We know sowing is not fun, but do we easily give up? We don’t want to plant; what we want is to see the fruit of our planting. 2Corinthians 9:6 says, “He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, but he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully.” We cannot expect a harvest if we do not sow.
The mustard seed has to be sown. Are we sowing the Word of God in our hearts? Are we allowing the Word to take root in our lives? Are we sowing love? Do we want love, prosperity, or peace in our lives? Then, plant these in our lives. The principle of life is all about the principle of planting.
In the parable, the mustard seed is small. It is not noticeable; it is smaller than all the other seeds. In the kingdom, we may do things that are not necessarily great, and it starts in small beginnings. The kingdom of God starts with things that are small. Even this whole universe started with these few words, “Let there be light.” The salvation of man started in a little town of Bethlehem. Don’t belittle small things in our lives because it is normally these that count in our lives. Feed the hungry; share your meal; do your chores at home; love your family; love the people around you – all of these are small acts of mustard seed faith.
We need to start small acts of kindness. We need not wait for the right timing. Plant small acts everyday. Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “He who watches the wind will not sow; he who looks at the cloud will not reap.” The CEV translation says, “He who waits for perfect conditions will not reap.” It is not wrong to wait for signs, but sometimes, we are afraid to take the steps of faith to begin to plant, to share, and to reach out to those who are in need.
To be witnesses, we need to begin to sow and sow even in small things. This is the mustard seed faith that we have to learn.