June 17, 2012 – Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ez 17:22-24; Ps 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16; 2 Cor 5:6-10; Mk 4:26-34
We are a blessed people – blessed to be alive, blessed to be members of the Church blessed to know the Lord, Christ established, blessed to have so many gifts of time, talent and treasure, blessed to be called to share the Gospel with the world. The list is endless, really. And all of it – every blessing in our lives comes by way of gift from the Lord. His generosity is beyond measure, and what He does with that generosity – the way He changed hearts and minds, the way He builds up His kingdom here on Earth is astounding.
In today’s first reading, we hear the Lord say, “I will take from the top of the cedar, from its topmost branches and tear off a tender shoot. I will plant it. It shall put forth branches and bear fruit and become a majestic cedar.”
Then, in the Gospel, Jesus compares the kingdom of Heaven to a small mustard seed that, when planted, becomes a great big tree.
“It springs forth and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large beaches so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
Indeed, the Lord can, and He often does, take what the world considers lowly or small and make them great. He uses those who give of themselves, those who recognize that they are nothing without Him to bring about great things – to build His kingdom, to bear witness to His truth, to make disciples of all nations.
Two very common modern-day examples are Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul the Great. Both came from humble beginnings. Both were insignificant individuals in the eyes of the world, but God recognized their great gifts, and they recognized that they were The Lord’s servants. And so, together with the Lord, they set about to do His work and, as we all are well aware, they made a great impact on the world at large. They brought many to Christ. They showed the world what it means to love, what it means to live as the people we were created to be – Christ’s disciples. And so, they built up the Kingdom here on Earth.
These two are not exceptions. They are not rare creatures from the standpoint of being called to great work and being blessed with the gifts to do it. What makes them rare is that they answered the call. They gave themselves, whole and entire, to the Lord as His disciples, His servants. And so the Lord used them.
He wants to use every one of us. He has blessed us with all that we need to answer the call, and He is there looking to make us great – great witnesses to the Gospel that is. But He wants us to choose that path, to freely give of ourselves in His service. He is not going to force us. We must recognize that without shim we are nothing, and that with Him we are something great. And then, we must give of ourselves, surrendering our very lives for the sake of the Gospel.
For some of us, there is a seeming disconnect between ourselves and people like Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul. We may be thinking “I am a stay at home mom;” or “I am a doctor or a social worker or a construction worker or the like with a family to feed. I can’t give of myself like they did.”
Yes you can. We all can, and we are all called to do so. Our gift of self may look different as we fold the laundry and change diapers or tackle office paperwork, but it is a matter of choosing to live for God, wherever we are at in life. And when we do so, He makes great things happen through us. He uses us to build the Kingdom, to make disciples, to change the world.
Give Him yourself today – your time, your talents, and your treasure. Choose to live solely for Him, and watch as amazing things happen – both in your own life and in the world around you.