Monday of the 17th Week of the Year

Matt 13:31-35

The Parable of the Mustard Seed


Big thing starts from small beginnings. When God wants us to experience the goods of Kingdom like peace, love and justice he gives them in “seed” or to use another metaphor, in “yeast” form.

Why does the kingdom of God work this way? The same question was asked by the main character in the 70s film, “Oh, God.” The late John Denver, the main character playing the role of a grocery store manager, encounters God (played by George Burns) in the frozen food section. John wanted to know why God would choose to operate in a human framework: “What good could that possibly be?” 9why don’t you simply be God, use your powers to bring order to this chaotic world once and for all).

The gospel presents an answer. Human cooperation is needed. The mustard seed, the smallest of seeds, carries the power and dynamism to grow into a mighty tree. But it needs ground/soil from where it germinates then sprouts. Like yeast, the Kingdom needs “measures of wheat flour.” Believes in the Kingdom are the ground and the measures of flour. They can either thwart the seed and stifle the yeast or allow them to unleash their potential. Whatever happens, though, God continues to sow the seeds and to leaven the flour.

God replied to John Denver’s question: “You never know; a seed here, a seed there, something is bound to take hold and grow.” (Fr. GdP, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


A Christian becomes leaven or ferment for his surroundings by giving good example. To give good example means not only avoiding sin, but becoming a model of professional competence and reliability. Besides, he should take advantage of his daily dealings to impart good human and Christian values to his companions. What can I do today, in my place of work, to “leaven” my surroundings? (From CBCP Monitor July, 2001)


To grow in our Christian life, we must devote some time to scriptural and devotional reading.  Reading is the food of the soul.  If all we read are novels, newspaper articles and gossip columns, then that is what we are feeding our soul.  We must include some spiritual input into our daily reading fare.  Then we can have material for reflection that will eventually leave its mark in our life.  Aside from the Bible, we can profitably read writings of the Fathers of the Church, of the great saints, and of reliable contemporary authors. (From CBCP Monitor July, 2000)


A trite saying goes this way: “out of sight, out of mind.” That is what happened to the Israelites in Exodus 32. The Israelites did not see Moses for a number of days because he was up there in Mt. Sinai listening to the teachings and instructions of Yahweh. So they forgot Moses and what he told them. They then requested Aaron to “come, makes us gods to walk ahead of us,” (Ex 32:1). Aaron melted all the golden earrings of the women of Israel and fashioned a golden calf. The Israelites abandoned Yahweh and made offerings to their new god, the golden calf. They committed the horrible and abominable sin of idolatry.

Do we also commit idolatry? Are we guilty of the sin of having a created thing for a god instead of worshipping the One True God? We note that the Israelites became vulnerable to idolatry when Moses was physically away from them and no longer visible to them. We too can easily fall into idolatry if we walk away from God, when we stop thinking and conversing with God. We are prone to idolatry when we stop seeing God in the day-to-day happenings of our life.

What do we most often think about as we live day-to-day? Do we always think of God or how can we earn more money and amass greater wealth? Do we think more often how we can be popular, be known by society, be featured in magazines and newspapers, and our faces staring out of billboards? Are our efforts often directed towards grabbing more power believing that if we have more power believing that if we have more power, we can lord over others and do anything we like? If we are always after something other than the true God, then we have an idol for a god. We are guilty of idolatry. An authentic Christian worships only the God who sent His own Son to redeem and enable us to share His eternal life and divinity. (Fr. Ernie lagura, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


I heard from my mother a story about an aunt who once played with yeast. Oblivious of the consequences, she emptied a pack into a bowl and poured in water to start a “bake-a-cake” game. Excited to get more play tools and playmates, she left the bowl for awhile. She was in for a great fright as she pranced her way back into the , she left the bowl for awhile. She was in for a great fright as she pranced her way back into the kitchen. True enough, the yeast had risen and fizzed past the brim, and to her horror, the innocent concoction she left had turned into a bubbling demon! She ran out of the kitchen screaming, “Bendita! Bendita!” (Holy Water! Holy Water!).

The gospel for today presents two figures – the mustard seed, regarded as the smallest of seeds, and the yeast, considered even to be a symbol of corruption. Insignificant and unworthy they may be, the Lord chose them to represent God’s surprising and even mind-boggling works.  The Kingdom of God can even start from lowly origins and even disappointing beginnings. It does not start with a bang, an awesome sign or noisy fanfare for it usually grows unnoticed. The Lord can use even the most unworthy on the least expected people. For example, just think of it of the fishermen, the skeptic, the tax collector, and the murderer of Christians who became eventually, Peter and brothers Thomas, Matthew and Paul! They the least horde one could expect to dish out love for the Lord and people and yet they did! There are still a lot of them, Peter and brothers Thomas, Matthew and Paul! They the least horde one could expect to dish out love for the Lord and people and yet they did! There are still a lot of them, even in our times, who continue to be the Lord’s instruments and channels of His love and salvation. The gospel also speaks of my role and yours in building the Kingdom of God. No effort is too small for this great enterprise because of the eyes of the Lord, nothing goes unnoticed. Nothing much is required but just to hand in our unworthiness and littleness in the Lord and allow ourselves to be mustards and yeast in his hands. (Frt. Ferdie Bajao, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


REST FOR ALL (Matt 13:31): The Church is compared to the shrub of mustard. From here, we can learn two missions of the Church. The first, according to the parable, is that different birds nest on the tree’s branches. Such is the Church. The Church exists, not only for an exclusive community, but for all men and women of varied origins, varied educational background, varied cultures and varied races. The Church is for everybody. That is why the Church is called universal. That is why it is called Catholic. Because we are not choosy, we are a Church for all.

The second mission of the Church, according to the parable of the mustard seed, is that the Church exists in order to give rest to the birds. The Church exists in order to give rest to people. When we are tired, we go home. When birds break their wings, they return to their nests. When children are bruised, they run to their parents. When adults get hurt, the seek the comfort of their paternal or maternal homes. Such is the Church. It is for people who have no place to return to, for people who have no homes waiting for them, for people who want to rest but cannot. The Church is not here to confuse people. The Church is not here to make trouble. The Church is here to offer rest.

Remember two things: The Church is for all. The Church is here to offer rest. If you belong to this Church, you must also share in that mission. Every Christian must be a person for all, and every Christian should be a soothing rest for all others. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus in my Heart, p. 9)


LOOKING BACK (Matt 13:31): The Parable of the Mustard Seed is for all Christians. A big tree grows from a small seed where birds made their nests. We are similar to the mustard seed. Who among us can say that we were already great when we were born? We all started small and dependent on someone else. But because of the goodness of people and the kindness of situations around us, we grew up and made something of ourselves. We are like the mustard seed that started with a humble beginning, only to take its place in the world later on.

But as we say in Tagalog, “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinaggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan.” Even if the mustard seed has grown into a tree, it should first recognize its humble beginnings as the smallest of seeds. What is the fate of those who do not recognize this? Jeremiah compares the ungrateful who refuses to remember their humble beginnings to a man who has not changed his undergarment for a year. He stinks.

Let us ask the Lord to protect us from being like that stinking person. It is abominable to think ourselves as such. But it is the fate of people who are ungrateful. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus in my Heart, p. 153)


As a “Living” Word and Good “News,” the gospel passage however also makes us realize:

  • “Bigness” or greatness before God is not physical, nor material. We cannot argue about the fact that the mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds of the world. Take a newly sharpened charcoal pencil, and make a dot. This is how small the mustard seed is. It seems but a speck. That the mustard seed grows up to be the “largest of plants” is, however, debatable. There are other shrubs and trees that are definitely taller and more majestic.

The bigness and the greatness of the mustard is in this – when full-grown, its branches become a perch and nestling place for birds in the sky. It shares its gift of growth and maturity to the birds.

The greatness before God is always measured in the ability to witness before others about the super-abundant gifts of God. It is having a missionary spirit. It means the ability to extend our hands, open out hearts, and embrace others in their various needs.

  • God’s hidden agents for His great plans are women. According to Jesus, the one who kneads the yeast to the dough is a woman. Indeed, a survey of the Scriptures will validate for us that the obscure and hidden origins of God’s manifold saving ways involved women whom Jewish culture downgraded as citizens of a lesser kind. The small beginning of a numerous descendants promised to Abraham was in the barren and old womb of a woman named Sarah. The beginning of life of the Jews’ long-awaited liberator Moses, was in the unknown Jewish woman. The gift of life for the prophet Samuel who will later install the monarchy of Israel, was in the womb of Hannah. The old but faith-filled Elizabeth was, in turn, the instrument for the birth of the last prophet John the Baptizer. Topping the list of women called by God to be collaborators of his grand design was Mary of Nazareth, mother of Jesus.

It will do well then for the church not only to honor women and champion their rights, but to reexamine whether her openness to women participation in various church-building ministries is not “stifled.”

An important part of the kerygma of the Church – the story of the Resurrection – was first entrusted by Jesus Himself to Mary Magdalene, a woman who was once living in ill-repute (Fr. Domi Guzman, SSP New Every Morning New Everyday, pp.229-230)


Monday, July 27, 2015

MONDAY OF THE 17TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – MATEO 13:31-35. UNSA MAN ANG PAGTULON-AN NGA ATONG MAKAT-ONAN SA LISO SA MUSTASA? Bisan sa iyang kagamay, ang liso sa mustasa adunay talagsaong kalidad. Kon imo kining itanom sa yuta, atimanon ug bisbisan, motubo kini ug mahimong dakong tanom nga dugokan sa mga langgam tungod sa iyang mga dahon ug bunga. Pinaagi sa sambingay sa liso sa mustasa gitudloan kita ni Hesus nga ang paghari sa Dios diha sa atong kinabuhi magsugod sa gagmay’ng mga butang. Kon ang pagtoo sa Dios atong itanom sa atong kasingkasing, atimanon sa mga pag-ampo, ug bisbisan sa mga buhat sa kalooy, motubo kini ug mamungag daghang kaayohan. Sakto ang giingon sa libro ni propeta Zechariah 4:10: “Do not despise these small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Subay sab kini sa giingon: “Big things often have small beginings.” Posted by Abet Uy


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Reflection for July 27, Monday, Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 13:31-35

Reflection: How does the kingdom of God starts in your heart? It starts small, then if you nurture it with prayers, by reading the bible and your faithful presence at Holy Mass. It slowly grows little by little until it fully blooms so that it can bless others and in the process you become a blessing to your brethren.

But not everyone has this kind of experience. To many of us the kingdom begins small also yet it does not grow it instead dies. Why? Because we don’t exert an effort to nurture it, we don’t ask Jesus to bless our faith so that it could grow.

The mustard seed parable in our gospel is an allusion of Jesus’ desire to help us grow in faith. This seed of faith that He initially gives us during our baptism. And as we grow Jesus also desires that we also grow in faith so that others can learn from us.

How’s the seed of faith that Jesus sowed in your heart during your baptism? Did you allow it to grow by nurturing it and by asking Jesus to help you grow in faith? If it grew, has anyone been blessed by it already? – Marino J. Dasmarinas


PARABLES – All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. – Matthew 13:34

There I was in the middle of a noisy foodcourt when I heard Him speak to me. He spoke not with words but through a family of five that I had watched just a few meters from where I was having lunch with my own family.

The parents, with their two daughters and toddler son in tow, sat across us and brought out their own ice cream container of rice and two pieces of fried chicken, plastic plates and utensils. The father left for a while and returned with some sticks of fried siomai and squid balls as their additional viands. The whole group had smiles on their faces, eager to feast together.

It was a happy family Sunday for them, just as it was for us. The Lord spoke to me loud and clear about simplicity and gratefulness. I felt so touched I couldn’t help but thank the Lord for all our blessings. I was moved to pray blessings upon that family.

God communicates in ways easy for us to understand. His message is spoken straight to the heart. Kitty D. Ferreria (

REFLECTION: What is God telling you today?

Lord, open my heart so I can understand Your message for me today.


July 27, 2015

Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Ex 32:15-24, 30-34, Mt 13:31-35


“I will proclaim things kept secret since the beginning of the world” (Mt 13:35)

One of the greatest things that Jesus revealed was that the Kingdom of God is within. Till the time of Jesus people understood Kingdom of God in terms of power and might. In this Kingdom, there will be plenty to eat and drink. The miracles of Jesus like the feeding the five thousand and turning water in to wine must be seen in this light. But today Jesus is revealing that the Kingdom of God is within (Lk 17:21).

It is not without a reason. Jesus was the first one to instruct people that God is within each person. According to Jesus one has to adore God, not on this mountain or that but in the cave of the heart (Jn 4:23). It is the mystery hidden for generations (Col 1:27). If God is within a person, then Kingdom of God too must be inside of a person.

This kingdom of God that is within a person is like a mustard seed. Once it is grown, the birds come and rest in its branches. In the same way, our activities, actions, words, etc must be based on the ‘Kingdom-of-God-experience’ we have. Our actions must be an expression of the presence of the Kingdom of God that is in us.

It all asks us to be contemplative; to contemplate the face of Jesus with in one’s own heart. The collapse of Christianity in the West shows that, the Christians of this age must experience the Kingdom of God within and contemplate the face of God. Let the Kingdom begin from within. Fr. Johnson Bezalel CMI


Quiet but Steady Growth

July 27, 2015 (readings)

Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 13:31-35

Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds. “The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.” He spoke to them another parable. “The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come into your presence seeking to know you better. I believe that you take the lead in seeking me. You want me to find you. I trust that in your mercy you will bring me to intimacy with you. I open my heart today to receive your friendship.

Petition: Lord, teach me to long for your Kingdom and your holiness.

  1. Quietly Becoming Strong:The Kingdom of Christ is not a very visible and flashy organization in the world. It is above all a spiritual force. It works quietly yet powerfully in the hearts of those who receive it. By living faith, hope and charity, Christians discover that the generous response to the voice of Christ in their consciences builds a life that has strength and substance. Living the Christian faith makes a person strong in the midst of difficulties and even able to sustain others in their life’s journey. Am I allowing the Kingdom to grow in my heart in such a way that I can quietly sustain others by my values and my charity?
  2. Hidden Expansion:As we allow Christ to reign in our hearts more each day, we find that his influence affects not only our internal attitudes but also the people around us. This world becomes more of a caring, compassionate place. Truth is sown. People are reminded of God’s presence and love. This world becomes more a place where others can find God. It is a quiet transformation of the world, but relentless, like the rising of the dough through the action of yeast. Am I constant in allowing the values of the Kingdom to transform the way I deal with others? Do I have confidence in the transforming power of the Gospel?
  3. Revealing Secrets:By speaking in in parables Christ helps us understand that God’s kingdom is real and accessible. God has a plan to reign in our hearts, and the fulfillment of this plan is within our reach through his grace. The secret to fruitfulness in our lives lies in our openness and cooperation with God’s grace. It is within our grasp if we would exercise our faith. Christ has come to open our horizons to God’s grace. Are we showing our thankfulness by doing his will?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I believe in your kingdom. I know that it continues to grow by the power of your grace. Help me to work with confidence today, knowing that by sowing with faith, hope and love, I am allowing you to do great things in the world around me.

Resolution: Today I will speak of God’s goodness explicitly with someone whom I meet.

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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