Mustard Seeds

“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”

Today Jesus tells us that the faith planted in our hearts, though it starts as a tiny seed, can cause an enormous transformation within, enabling us to change our lives and manifest the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. The early church father, Peter Chrysologous (400-450 AD) wrote this about the mustard seed parable and Christ:

“Brothers and sisters, you have heard today how the kingdom of heaven, for all its vastness, can be compared to a mustard seed… Is that the sum of believers’ hopes? Is that what the faithful are longing for?… Is this the mystery no eye has seen, no ear heard, no human heart imagined; the mystery past telling that the Apostle Paul assures us God has prepared for all who love him? (1Cor 2,9). Let us not be too easily disappointed by our Lord’s words. If we remember that “God’s weakness is stronger than human strength, and God’s foolishness wiser than human wisdom,” (1Cor 1,25) we shall find that this smallest seed of God’s creation is greater than the whole wide world.

It is up to us to sow this mustard seed in our minds and let it grow within us into a great tree of understanding reaching up to heaven and elevating all our faculties; then it will spread out branches of knowledge, the pungent savor of its fruit will make our mouths burn, its fiery kernel will kindle a blaze within us inflaming our hearts, and the taste of it will dispel our unenlightened repugnance. Yes, it is true: a mustard seed is indeed an image of the kingdom of God. Christ is the kingdom of heaven. Sown like a mustard seed in the garden of the virgin’s womb, he grew up into the tree of the cross whose branches stretch across the world. Crushed in the mortar of the passion, its fruit has produced seasoning enough for the flavoring and preservation of every living creature with which it comes in contact. As long as a mustard seed remains intact, its properties lie dormant; but when it is crushed they are exceedingly evident. So it was with Christ; he chose to have his body crushed, because he would not have his power concealed….

Christ became all things in order to restore all of us in himself. The man Christ received the mustard seed which represents the kingdom of God; as man he received it, though as God he had always possessed it. He sowed it in his garden, that is in his bride, the Church. The Church is a garden extending over the whole world, tilled by the plough of the gospel, fenced in by stakes of doctrine and discipline, cleared of every harmful weed by the labor of the apostles, fragrant and lovely with perennial flowers: virgins’ lilies and martyrs’ roses set amid the pleasant verdure of all who bear witness to Christ and the tender plants of all who have faith in him. Such then is the mustard seed which Christ sowed in his garden. When he promised a kingdom to the patriarchs, the seed took root in them; with the prophets it sprang up; with the apostles it grew tall; in the Church it became a great tree putting forth innumerable branches laden with gifts. And now you too must take the wings of the psalmist’s dove, gleaming gold in the rays of divine sunlight, and fly to rest for ever among those sturdy, fruitful branches. No snares are set to trap you there; fly off, then, with confidence and dwell securely in its shelter. (SERMON 98)”

Detail of apse in Basilica of San Clemente, Rome.

Detail of apse in Basilica of San Clemente, Rome.

Today’s image is the same as we saw for Jesus as the true vine, which you may read about here. Click on it for a larger image to see all the details included in this intricate mosaic.


Are you allowing the seed of Christ’s love and the Word of God to be implanted in you? Are you being transformed into a mighty tree that bears fruit for Christ? Pray now that God will fill you with the Holy Spirit and give you the desire to live to his glory, so you may put forth branches that will help shelter others under the tree of the Kingdom.



One thought on “Mustard Seeds

  1. Reblogged this on Daily Goodness and commented:
    Beautiful Art and reflection on today’s Gospel about the parable of the mustard seed.

    Liked by 1 person

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