There was once a time when the world knew not of its Savior. Yet there was hope because it had been foretold that a child would be born and called Emmanuel – God is with us. In Lent, we prepare for his coming anew. During this season, we discover for ourselves the call of salvation and the promise of eternal life.
What does he mean?
Everyone was intrigued by him, but they wondered why he spoke as he did. They wanted him to speak plainly, but he often told unusual stories and employed odd metaphors to express a lesson. He spoke of the parables of the servants and the talents, of the good samaritan, the prodigal son, the sowers of the wheat, the wedding guest, and numerous others as vehicles to teach. And then once, Jesus put this parable to them, saying:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31 – 32)
What does it mean? Why does he talk this way?
“All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet.” (Matthew 13:34)
Isaiah is the prophet in the Old Testament who was often referenced by Jesus. It was Isaiah who was commissioned by God to tell the people (Isaiah 6:9 – 10):
“Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy,
and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”
Jesus spoke in parables because he wanted to make those who “do not understand and who do not perceive, to understand with their hearts so that they will turn to God and be healed.”
The meaning of that humble mustard seed? So we understand the vastness of heaven’s reach in gathering the souls of the faithful over time. And so we know just how great our faith can grow.
See, hear, understand.
These Gospel stories are re-imagined in the book series:
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