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January 26

FOCUS:  In the kingdom of God, power is associated not with dominance but with love and self-control.


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In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives the disciples, and us, two perspectives on the Kingdom of God, using the literary form of a parable.

The first parable describes the action of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the disciples. The seeds are scattered when we, His disciples, act in a way that helps others come into God’s presence. The simple but very loving and holy act of a parent bringing an infant child to be baptized is scattering a seed. The seed of faith plants itself in the child. The child’s faith will sprout and grow by how it is nurtured, watered, and made ready for the harvest of Confirmation, when a new disciple is called to spread even more seeds. For others, the seed of faith and discipleship gets planted in different ways: through a friend at school, a coworker who radiates a joyful life, or even an individual experience that causes a person to turn to God looking for purpose and meaning in their life. God knows His plan for our faith story. Do we know what our story of faith has been? Are we ready to continue our story according to God’s plan?

The second parable uses the mustard seed to illustrate how the growth of the tiniest seed planted in our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit can grow into a strong plant that can spread its large branches to provide shelter and comfort for others. If we know the story of how the mustard seed of faith was planted in our lives, we can also reflect on how we have grown in our faith by the story of our lives. Have we developed strong roots through prayer, reading scripture, and the sacraments? 

Rooted in love, has our faith grown into adult discipleship? Do we care for others? Do we give others a safe place to grow in their faith? Are there areas of our life that need pruning, so that we can more fully develop as a disciple?

I’m reminded of the children’s book The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, which showed how a person can be nurtured by another at all stages of life from our “receiving” years of youth all the way to our old age. Even after its death, the giving tree was a place where an old man could rest in the comfort of the memories of the gifts received from the tree throughout his life. This is what we can do as disciples, with a fully developed faith for those God places in our lives.

Let’s continue to allow the seed of faith to grow in us so that we can spread more seeds of faith to others.

Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection

Do you allow the seed of God's word to take deep root in your life and transform you into a fruit-bearing disciple of Jesus Christ?

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