We begin the eleventh week of Ordinary Time. The readings for this Sunday are about the Kingdom of God, the birth and growth of the reign or rule of God, in human lives, in our family and in our society. Though the growth of the kingdom of God is slow and mysterious, it is sure, guided by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The first reading, taken from the book of Ezekiel, sets forth a messianic prophecy and discusses God’s sovereignty. The prophet tells us how the Lord God of Israel will allow a descendant of King David to become the Messiah and Savior of the World. God will accomplish what earthly kings had only attempted, and Israel will thrive under an honest ruler, God himself. When the prophet announces that “all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree,” he asserts God’s design that Israel and every nation will acknowledge God’s power. In contrast with the parable of the tiny mustard seed in today’s gospel, Ezekiel sees the Messiah originating from the family of King David.
In the second reading, St. Paul teaches the Corinthian Christians that they are to please God by doing His will, thus advancing the growth of God’s kingdom and His rule in their lives, so that they may be amply rewarded in the final judgment. Paul discusses the Divine judgment, which is certain and cannot be taken lightly. Paul’s intention is to remind us that we will have to give an account of what we have accomplished for the Lord, explaining how we promoted the kingdom of God.
In today’s gospel, Jesus compares the growth of the kingdom of God to the germination of a wheat seed and that of a tiny mustard seed. Both have very small beginnings. The wheat seeds, with their gradual but steady growth, help the farmer to grow a bumper crop. In the same way, the life principle in a tiny mustard seed enables it to grow into a large bush. The reign of God in human hearts and the growth of the Church in the world also have small beginnings. But the Source of all life, God the Holy Spirit, gives to both a steady, persistent and sure growth.
The Kingdom of God is the growth of God’s rule in human hearts that occurs when we do the will of God and surrender our lives to God. The seed of faith lies dormant within each of us, but when we permit the Holy Spirit to nurture it, it grows miraculously. The growth is slow and microscopic in the beginning, but the seed grows by using the power of the Holy Spirit, given to us through the word of God, the Mass, the sacraments and prayers. As we discern God’s will from His words and try to put these words into practice, we participate in the growth of God’s kingdom on earth, which will be completed in our heavenly life.
The slow and tiny growth of the mustard seed is comparable to the roofing project that we started in November last year. There were many uncertainties when I started the project; I was unsure whether or not we would reach our financial goal and complete the reroofing work on time. I am so impressed and thankful to all of you for your support, as it now appears that the repairs will be able to be completed according to schedule. I want to remind you all that during the reroofing of the church there will be some inconveniences; please bear with me. I will do everything possible to reduce inconveniences. We will not have air-conditioning during the construction, but we will leave the doors open for air. We will continue to use the church for Mass; however, for first two weeks, starting June 18th to June 29th, the daily Masses will be held in the De Moore room. During these two weeks, the workers will remove tiles from the roof, and we want to give the workers as much time as possible so that the work can be completed before school starts again.
There is an area by the nursery which will be fenced off to hold air conditioning units and ducting work after they are removed from the roof. If there is no major damage to the wood beneath the tile, we should be able to complete the project by July 31st. As you may know, we are still short of our goal of $800,000, so, if you haven’t yet made a contribution, or can make an additional contribution, I encourage you to do so, so that we may be able to complete this once-in-a-lifetime project. Today’s parable is a great example to us that we can achieve even what seems impossible. By working together and, with the help of God, we should be able to achieve our goal. I truly cannot wait to complete the project, and to see the new roof over our wonderful church. Meanwhile, I request you to keep the project and the workers in your prayers.