Thursday, July 17, 2014

The importance of the small

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
July 20, 2014

Matthew 13:24-43

Christianity has been greatly harmed over the centuries by triumphalism, the thirst for power and the desire to impose itself on its adversaries. There are still Christians who long for a powerful Church that fills the temples, conquers the streets, and imposes its religion on the whole society.

We must reread two little parables in which Jesus makes it clear that the task of his followers is not to build a powerful religion but to put themselves at the service of the Father's humanizing project (the kingdom of God), sowing small "seeds" of Gospel and inserting themselves into society as a little "leaven" of human life.

The first parable talks about a mustard seed that is planted in the garden. What's special about that seed? That it's the smallest of all but, when it grows, it becomes a bigger shrub than the other shrubs. The Father's project has very humble beginnings, but we can't even imagine its transforming power now.

Jesus' actions in Galilee, sowing gestures of kindness and justice, are nothing grandiose or spectacular -- no one is aware of what's happening, either in Rome or in the Temple in Jerusalem. The work that we, his followers, perform today is insignificant -- the centers of power are unaware of it.

We Christians ourselves might even think that it's useless to work for a better world -- human beings commit the same horrors as always over and over again. We aren't able to grasp the slow growth of the kingdom of God.

The second parable speaks of a woman who puts a bit of yeast into a large batch of flour. Without anyone knowing how, the yeast works silently in the dough until it's completely fermented.

That's how it happens with God's humanizing project. Once it has come into the world, it quietly transforms human history. God doesn't act by imposing Himself from outside. He humanizes the world by drawing the consciences of His children towards a more dignified, just and fraternal life.

We are to trust in Jesus. The kingdom of God is always something humble and small at the beginning, but God is already working among us, promoting solidarity, the desire for truth and justice, the yearning for a happier world. We must collaborate with Him by following Jesus.

A less powerful Church, more devoid of privileges, poorer and closer to the poor, will always be a Church more free to plant seeds of the Gospel, and more humble in order to live among the people as the leaven of a more dignified and fraternal life.

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