THE IMPORTANCE OF SMALL THINGS
Throughout the centuries, Christianity has suffered a lot of damage because of triumphalism, the thirst for power, and the eagerness to impose itself on its enemies. There are still Christians who yearn for a powerful Church that fills churches, conquers the streets and imposes its religion on the whole of society.
We need to go back and read two small parables in which Jesus makes clear that his followers’ task isn’t to construct a powerful religion, but rather to put themselves at the service of the Father’s humanizing project (God’s Reign), sowing small «seeds» of the Gospel, and mixing themselves into society as a bit of «leaven» in human life.
The first parable speaks of a mustard seed that is sown in a garden. What’s special about this seed? That it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it grows, it becomes a bush bigger than the other vegetables. The Father’s project has some very humble beginnings, but its transforming force can’t be imagined even now.
Jesus’ activity in Galilee of sowing deeds of goodness and justice isn’t anything grandiose and spectacular: neither in Rome nor in the Jerusalem Temple are they aware of what’s happening. The work that his followers are doing today is insignificant: the power centers ignore it.
Even we Christians can think that it’s useless to work for a better world: human beings keep on committing the same horrors over and over again, seemingly forever. We are incapable of catching on to the slow growing of God’s Reign.
The second parable speaks of a woman who mixes a little leaven into a large mass of flour. Without anyone knowing how, the leaven goes about working silently until the whole mass is fermented.
That’s what happens with God’s humanizing project. Once it is introduced into the world, it goes about quietly transforming human history. God doesn’t act by imposing Self from outside. God humanizes the world by attracting the consciences of God’s children to a more worthy life, one that is more just and fraternal.
We need to trust in Jesus. God’s Reign is always something humble and small in its beginnings, but God is still working among us, promoting solidarity, the desire for truth and for justice, the yearning for a happier world. We need to collaborate with God by following Jesus.
A less powerful Church, one that is more lacking in privileges, poorer and closer to the poor, will always be a Church that is freer to sow seeds of the Gospel, more humble in its living in the midst of the people as the leaven of a more worthy and more fraternal life.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf