The parables Jesus tells are simple, yet intricate stories that use everyday items or experiences to help explain complex realities. This week’s gospel offers two parables with seed images to explain the Kingdom of God, a concept Jesus uses when he speaks about what the world will be like when it is finally fully transformed into everything God intends for creation as well as when he speaks about the daily glimpses we see of that ongoing transformation in our own lives. The better known of the two parables is about the mustard seed that grows from a tiny seed into a huge plant. Mustard is not typically something Jesus’ hearers would be planting in their gardens. It is a quick-growing, opportunistic weed that will take root wherever it gets a chance. It’s the kind of weed that will take over.
I love that this is the plant Jesus references in talking about the Kingdom of God. He doesn’t use the example of a plant that is planted in neat rows, or something that needs careful tending or a specific kind of soil or light to grow. Nope. Jesus uses the example of a plant that will grow virtually anywhere. A plant that will start small, then spread and spread and spread. A weed that only needs a bit of dirt here or there to begin but will grow into a huge presence.
All around us, there are tiny seeds of the world as God intends it to be, little starts of the transformation God is in the midst of bringing. Like the mustard, they may begin to grow unseen, but these beginnings of a world of love, peace, justice, compassion, forgiveness, faithfulness, and inclusion grow quickly and spread. Like a weed, these tiny glimpses begin to take over the places they find root.
May our lives and our world be overrun like weeds with God’s love and compassion, peace and justice, compassion and forgiveness, faithfulness and inclusion. May the tiniest beginnings lead to great growth and an overwhelming presence of everything that God intends for the world.