He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
A retreat director once told me that progress in the spiritual life is like the slow, almost imperceptible growth of yeast as described in today’s Gospel. This parable presents a perfect image of how God’s grace works within us and among us. The marvelous power of yeast shows that the quiet, gentle evolution of God’s kingdom may seem insignificant, even hidden, but a little bit of it changes the world. Even our smallest acts of love are multiplied by God beyond our expectations.
The parable of the yeast is especially helpful when we grow impatient at not seeing awaited signs of God’s transforming grace in ourselves and others. It is really about trust – “patient trust” in God. As Teilhard de Chardin said, you “cannot be today what time… will make of you tomorrow.”
Do I trust that God is always with me, inviting me to live in confident hope in his ways?
—Sister Ruth Hoerig, OSF is co-editor of Alive Magazine and social media content developer for her congregation, the School Sisters of St. Francis. She has completed more than 30 Ignatian retreats, including a 30-day retreat on the Spiritual Exercises.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability-
and that it may take a very long time.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
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