Mustard Seed Faith – Msgr. Charles McGlinn

Msgr. Charles McGlinn’s Homily July 19, 2020

“I’m sure that some of you may be acquainted with Fr. Francis Hund, a priest of the Archdiocese. When Fr. Francis was first ordained his first assignment was at Queen of the Holy Rosary church where I happened to be pastor. If you know Fr. Francis, he has a rural background. He loves to grow things, especially flowers. We had a couple of flower boxes on our back porch and one spring he challenged me. He said, ‘Charlie, let’s plant some flowers and I’ll bet you mine grow faster and more beautiful than yours.’ I said, ‘okay’. So anyway we planted our stuff and I know very little about planting flowers, but we planted everything and then that night I got up and I planted some more into his flower box. I planted some popcorn, some grass seed and some beans. He was very excited when he saw these things germinate, but after a while he got suspicious and he showed me his pitiful looking flower box. Then he looked right at me and he quoted our Lord’s words in the Gospel today when he said, ‘An enemy has done this.’ I think the parable that Jesus tells us today is that there is evil in the world. He’s trying to tell Christians how they are to react to evil as they see it in the world today. There is both good and both evil and above all we are to let God be the judge. We can judge people’s actions, but we can never judge people’s hearts because we don’t know their hearts. God alone knows the hearts of everyone and he is the perfect judge.

Jesus goes on to tell a couple more parables in today’s Gospel and both have a very similar meaning. The first is about the mustard seed, a very small and insignificant looking seed, but when you plant it and it starts to grow it can become into a rather large shrub where even the birds can build their nests. The third parable is about a woman who has a very small amount of yeast, but she mixes it with a lot of flour and transforms that flour into suitable bread dough and both parables, I think, have to tell us never doubt the contribution you can make toward the building of the Kingdom of God. If you think you don’t have much to give of yourself, God can take whatever you have and transform it and make it something truly beautiful and significant, so never doubt what God has given you to help build his Kingdom.

There is a story about New Zealand and in the early days when Christians came to evangelize New Zealand there was a young woman who loved to hear the missionaries preach and she loved to sing the hymns that they sang and finally she became a Christian herself and was baptized, but she had a neighbor who was really resentful of her. He was resentful of all Christians taking over their native religion and on this one occasion this man had a potato with him and she was walking down the street he threw the potato at her and hit her. Well, it hurt, but what did she do? How did she react to this affront to her dignity? She picked up the potato and took it home. She cut it up into little pieces and planted the pieces and that fall she presented this man with a bushel basket of potatoes from the one he threw at her. So Jesus is always telling us, ‘Don’t return evil for evil, but return good for the evil done to you. Pray for those who persecute you. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Be loving and merciful as your father is loving and merciful.’

I have a little prayer that I’d like to share with you. I entitled this prayer, ‘Mustard Seed Faith.’

Jesus Savior give us faith
Heartfelt faith in faithful deed
What power we experience
Though faith be small as mustard seed

Mustard seed faith if real and true
Brings peace of mind and soul
And changes us miraculously
Life becomes full and whole

Jesus touch our lives with faith
Help us trust in you
Be our power in daily life
In grief be our strength too

Jesus Servant King and Lord
May the seeds of our faith grow
And help the faith of others
When the seeds of faith we sow

Make us your true servants Lord
Sowers of your seed
Jesus give us loving faith
If only small as mustard seed”