Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
October 25, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, Jesus begins a lesson to the disciples by asking a question many of us ask ourselves:
What is the Kingdom of God like?
As he so often does, Jesus uses nature to help his listeners understand the otherwise incomprehensible Love he has come to reveal.
Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like?
To what can I compare it?
It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden.
When it was fully grown, it became a large bush
and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.”
In the northern hemisphere, nature slowly rolls toward winter. The gentle downward path through autumn is lined with glory bursting from the trees and splashed against October’s brilliant blue skies. I think if Jesus were preaching in my front yard today, he might say something like this:
Look at that maple tree! Look at that chestnut! Just as their colors explode in beauty, so God’s love washes over you every moment of your lives. That love is the Kingdom of Heaven — and it is right here within you waiting to be recognized. Let the trees teach you! Let the skies teach you!
Each one of you, dear readers, may be experiencing your own season – either in nature or in your spirit. in Australia, it is spring! Jacarandas and wildflowers blossom across the land as koala and kangaroo joeys begin to venture out of their mothers’ pouches for the first time. In Peru, October spring is a “shoulder season”, slowly moving from its beautiful dry days toward the wet winter.
At the same time, no matter where we live, our hearts may experience their own seasons as our inner world rotates through our life experiences. Still, no matter the season, each displays something of the abiding mystery of God’s love and presence.
Jesus recognized these inner seasons too. Sometimes, like the baker in his lesson, we have to work a little to find the hints of grace around us. She had to take the latent yeast and mix it with the unleavened flour. She had to reach for the graces available to her.
To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?
It is like yeast that a woman took
and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch of dough was leavened.
Through our prayer and silent hopeful presence to God, we ready ourselves for the “yeast” of sacred grace. We open our unleavened lives to the wonder of the Kingdom of Heaven already living within us
Perhaps today, we might take a little walk outside — or a stroll through our heart — to appreciate the season we are in, to let it open our spirits to the power of God’s life around and within us. As Mary Oliver describes her contemplative experience:
FOOLISHNESS? NO, IT’S NOT – from A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver (2021, Penguin)
Sometimes I spend all day trying to count leaves on a single tree. To do this I have to climb branch by branch and write down the numbers in a little book. So I suppose, from their point of view it’s reasonable that my friends say: what foolishness! She’s got her head in the clouds again!
But it’s not. Of course I have to give up, but by then I am half crazy with the wonder of it – the abundance of the leaves, the quietness of the branches, the hopelessness of my effort. And I am in that delicious and important place, roaring with laughter, full of earth-praise.
Poetry: Autumn Fires – Robert Louis Stevenson
In the other gardens
And all up in the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over,
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
Music: Flowers in October – Tim Janis