The Kingdom of God is a great mystery, but it is all important. We profess to desire its coming each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus told us to seek first the Kingdom of God and all things then will be given to us. The Kingdom is not a place. Instead it is all about God’s will and the importance of God’s will being done not just in heaven, but everywhere, including within each and every one of us, since Jesus as told us that the Kingdom of God is within us.
In today’s gospel, Jesus likens the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed, something very small and seemingly unimportant. But when the tiny mustard seed is planted and grows, it is transformed into a strong, sturdy mustard bush. Compared to the majestic cedar, the central image of Ezekiel’s prophecy, a mustard bush is without much merit. A mustard bush is not much to look at and since they were plentiful, mustard bushes were not worthy of note. But God likes small and unimportant, and when given permission, the Lord can do great things from something and someone seemingly insignificant.
When we seek to do God’s will, we further the Kingdom of God in our world and in our lives, often in small matters. But that is enough for God, who is able to do so much more than we could ever imagine, whenever we give God permission. Perhaps in looking back, we can see the hand of God at work, but most times, as St Paul says in today’s second reading, we walk by faith and not by sight. We have to trust that when we say yes to whatever God asks in any situation, the Lord will take it from there and further God’s Kingdom in ways that remain invisible to our eyes.
God can do anything. Nothing is impossible for God. Yet, the Lord needs the humble cooperation of people like Mary of Nazareth and Simon Peter, like Teresa of Calcutta and Maximilian Kolbe, and like you and me. When we seek to say yes to God in small things, we grow in virtue, opening up the possibility of the Lord trusting us later with bigger things. Regardless, we know that God needs our willingness to plant either mustard seeds or shoots of cedar.
St Paul reminds himself and all of us that we will give an accounting to the Lord, the Judge of all, at the end of our lives. We will receive recompense for all that we have done. At that time, it will be asked, did we seek God’s will? Did we do all that the Lord asked of us? Were we faithful, and when we were not, did we trust in God’s mercy and begin again?
Each of us individually, and all of us together, have to seek the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness first in our lives. That frees God to work and to accomplish all that God desires. The Lord needs us. May we seek the blessing of the Father, the mercy of Jesus, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit each day of our lives, so that the Kingdom of God may grow both in our world and within us.