My Homily for 11th Sunday of the Year

11th Sunday of the Year (B) 2018

Have you ever seen a mustard seed? It’s so small, So small you can hardly see it.

Christ compares us to such a seed. It’s interesting to see how accurate he is. We start off in life as a tiny microscopic cell: much smaller than a mustard seed: it’s so small you can only see it under a microscope. To think that we were that size once. But then we began to grow: our cells multiplied till eventually we began to take shape. When we’d grown sufficiently it was time to get out of the womb. But our growth didn’t stop there.

I was a big baby, about ten and a half pounds; but after some years I was ten and a half stone. Our growth from a tiny microscopic cell into a fully grown man or woman is incredible: it’s one of the miracles of nature that we can so easily take for granted. And all we have to do is to eat and exercise, and we grow. We don’t contribute in anyway to our growth. And in truth we don’t even have to exercise, and we still grow: but then in all the wrong places.

But there is another growth which is perhaps less obvious, less tangible. That is our growth in faith. And again we don’t have to do much. Not really. We don’t have to be exceptionally good for this kind of growth to take place. We don’t have to be going to the church all the time. We don’t even have to be good all the time. All we need to do is acknowledge our faith and the Lord does the rest. It’s easy. It’s so easy. We lie back, as it were, put our feet on the table and our faith grows. Of course, we need to feed ourselves with spiritual food: above all prayer, then the sacraments and the word of God.

Like most growth you don’t notice it at first. It’s so slow. It normally takes many year for us to become aware of it. It’s rare for a teenager to be fully aware of God’s love working in him or her. And even as a young adults: how many of us were conscious of God’s love in us. No, it’s something we become more and more aware of as time goes by. That’s because it’s something we learn through experience. Gradually over the years you realise that God loves you; and more than that, that you love him. And when this happens you begin to notice how big your world is; how great your desires are. Religion is so mysteriously wonderfully enormous.

Religion is about life. And life is about growth. Growth in love. Love of God, love of neighbour, and not forgetting, love of ourselves. We are called to grow and grow beyond all recognition. We should be able to look back down over the years and say I didn’t think it was possible to have such deep faith; to know God. And to know God is to love him. But this is what life is for. We are called to love God with every fibre of our being.

I suspect that some of us feel just a little inadequate here. All this seems to apply to my pious next door neighbour; but I’m a different kettle of fish. No, this growth is meant for us all, and it happens whether we’re aware of it or not. Remember it’s not really down to us; it’s all God’s work. The smaller and the more insignificant you feel the better, because then the growth is greater. Remember the mustard seed. Remember the first human cell. So also our faith was so small but now it had grown beyound recognition. God in his own mysterious way has brought about this growth; it’s all God’s doing.

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