Sunday Homily June 13, 2021:
There was a time, not so long ago, when we simply weren’t, when not one of us was even a gleam yet in our father’s eye. The atoms that would someday be our bodies were strewn at random here and there around the earth. And the only person who’d ever even imagined us was God. When at last we did begin to be, we were smaller than a fly speck, so small that we could be seen only with a microscope. If we’d been conscious in those first moments of our life as a couple of microscopic cells, a microscopic human being, you may be sure we wouldn’t have believed that someday we’d become the complex creatures that we are today.
We couldn’t have imagined it, and yet here we are, marvelously made, beings capable of love and friendship, of running and laughing, makers of music and poetry, builders of great buildings and tiny gardens, and oh so much more. All from a few cells smaller than a fly speck. A miracle? Yes, but not a completed one. For there are parts of us that are still missing, parts that are damaged, and some that are just not right. We’re rather like a painting that an artist has been struggling with for years.
The painting’s sky is so perfect it glows; its trees are starting to take shape rather nicely; there’s a slash in one corner of the canvas, where a jealous model took her revenge; and the center of the canvas is just blank, painted and then rubbed away many times over the years, because the artist can’t get the central figure right. How like that painting we are: Glorious but flawed, promising but damaged, wonderful but seriously incomplete. Will we ever come close to completing our great work? Will God’s kingdom ever come to full flower in us? For most of us, imagining and hoping for such a thing is just about as difficult as it would be for a few cells to imagine they could grow into a human being. Because we find it so hard to imagine and hope for the wholeness that God wants for us, Jesus gave us Sunday’s parable about the tiny seed that grew into a tree
He’s assuring us that God has already put into us everything we’ll need to grow into the great persons he destined us to be. Even if what’s inside us seems very small, he’s saying it’s enough, for he can make it grow. Even if all our past labors have yielded little fruit, he’s saying he can make it grow, if we let him. If we remain flawed, damaged and incomplete to the end, it won’t be because we had no alternative. Rather it will be because we dared not hope that a mustard seed could become a tree, and dared not dream that God’s kingdom could come within us.
God has big dreams for you.
People who are truly God’s people have great dreams, and their dreams come true, because they know with a powerful inner certainty that, for those who love God, all things are possible, all things work for the good.