Realizing the potential: A homily for the Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

IMG_2531Today’s Gospel tells us about the mustard seed, a tiny seed that grows–quite rapidly–into something quite impressive.  God looks at a seed and sees what it can become.  It’s the same with planet earth….verse 2 of the bible says that in the start, earth was simply a vast wasteland.  It was chaos, a mess.  God looked at that and saw what it could become. I just got back from Colorado, where I was amazed at the beauty and awesomeness of creation. It really is something.

So I think my first thought is: we should be consoled by this.  God looks at the messes of things, and the messes that we sometimes are, and he sees potential. He sees what can be.  That’s consoling.  When God looks at me, he doesn’t see the wretch that I am but the saint I am to become.

The second piece is, we need to have the eyes of Jesus. We need to be able to see the potential in things, too.  Say you lose a job, or something doesn’t quite work out as you want, or there’s a struggle in some relationship that just isn’t working right….all of these things, they’re messes…..and we, with Jesus, are called to see potential of what they can become.

I think about this in the life of this parish. There are messes here, as there are in every parish.  When we look at these things, these problems, what God is inviting us to do is to see the potential, to see what can be done, and do it. This principle, of course, applies to the problems in our city, country, personal life, etc. in the same way.

Thing is, it takes courage–which is what our second reading is all about–to realize the potential of this or that mess or situation.  That’s what made the saints into saints!  They had the courage to respond to the messes of their day.  A few days ago I was in Golden CO, and there is this beautiful shrine dedicated to Mother Cabrini.  Mother Cabrini came to the US in the early 1900s.  She saw a mess.  There were hundreds of children with nothing to eat, who had been dumped there by their parents. They were orphans.  Mother Cabrini saw this disaster and she had the courage to go through all the hoops to build a complex to take care of them.  And she did!  She loved them, fed them, taught them, lived with them.  It wasn’t easy.  But she was confronted with a MESS, and she saw the POTENTIAL, and had the COURAGE to do something about it.

What are the messes in our lives?  What are the little seeds that are waiting to become huge, fruitful trees?  May we have the wisdom to see what can be changed and have the courage to do something about it.