Growing the
community and the world.

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.”

Jesus’ radical call to us is to be something totally different, to rise above our worldly ways to become like Him so we can grow the world.

When we think about the what this call means, the depth of it, the power of it, we can be taken a little aback. How can I possibly be like Jesus? How can I get beyond my ‘feelings,’ my angers, disputes, grudges, opinions and take up Jesus’ opinion and way? Can I grow the world?

This season of growth, as we have discussed over the past several weeks, is all about getting beyond and over ourselves to become ourselves. Seems strange to say – but to become ourselves is to fulfill what God has designed us to be, is to reach for becoming God like and then to be that yeast. The few Christians in our community – that’s us and our brothers and sisters from many traditions – can grow and develop our community and the entire world. Be its leaven.

The Book of Wisdom points out the aspects of God we have within us and that we need to grow into so that our community may grow. What a wonderful prospect that we have such dignity and heavenly love – grace pointed toward us, that we have the ability to become ‘all that.’ By becoming all that God has designed us to be, the world around us is given the chance to become all that God wants it to be.

Wisdom tells us God’s mastery over all things makes Him lenient to all. What a radical call – to be lenient to all. Not to take up grudges or be judgmental, but to be merciful, clement, forgiving, forbearing, tolerant, charitable, easygoing, magnanimous, sympathetic, compassionate, and mild. If we are so, then we leaven the community to also be lenient.

Being the yeast for our community calls us to be bold. God knows that we can be. He knows the power He has paced in us. Because of that, Wisdom tells us that God rebuke[s] temerity. Unless we toss our leaven into the community nothing will happen. If we stop our leaven at the door of the church, act differently at meetings, work, on the road, online, or at home then God will rebuke us, He will correct, reprimand, admonish, reprove, chastise, and censure us – not something one would ever want. If we are truly bold in God, then the community can be bold in Him.

God has fixed His gaze on us, His people, in a particular way. The Holy Spirit is with us coming to the aid of our weakness; interceding for us, His holy ones so we can bold, lenient leaven.

We have the power, ability, and love to grow and become like Jesus – lenient and bold – growing our community and the whole world.

In the mirror between
the sowing and the growing.

“Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

How deep is our faith? Jesus’ parable is really a question about that very subject. As we have heard, Ordinary Time is a period of focus on our faith journey. During this time, we are given the opportunity to grow and develop, to deepen our faith inwardly and outwardly.

As we probe our faith in the mirror, we need to take account of those areas in which we can grow and beware of those things which can hurt our relationship with Christ. We must engage with the Lord both in our personal mystical union with Him and our corporate experience of Him.

Jesus sows only good in our lives. He places His word in the hearts and minds of men and women with the intent that it will grow, flourish, and produce. He does this through both His ministers and all the faithful called to evangelize the world. But things happen between the sowing and the growing. This is where depth comes into play.

Jesus’ explanation is pretty straightforward. In the first three examples, something comes between the sowing and the growing. In the fourth, the faithful grow and produce.

In the first example, the Church is just a way station. It serves some other purpose in the person’s life. There is little to no faith intent in them and thus no depth. It might be a great social club, some sort of way to pass time or even do a little good – but no real connection to faith in Christ at all.

The second two are more troublesome; they have actually gotten it. Christ began to grow in them. Unfortunately, something intervened, and that is not an external intervention. They let other things get in the way of Jesus. Maybe personalities, control, or a personal opinion – whatever the cause, these lost the purpose for which the seed was planted in them. They didn’t see the danger and killed off growth in Jesus.

The question can only be answered by looking in the mirror. Is Jesus there with us – deep in us – or is something else pasted on Jesus’ face? If the seed has been choked, now is the time to find out and to ask Jesus to replant it. He will!