Pastor's Desk: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 19th July 2014 in Pastor's Desk

In place of the Pastor’s Desk this week, we include the following extract from Intercom Magazine:

The Deep End - The Mustard Seed Revolution

The mustard seed parable is often explained away by stating how God takes a tiny seed and makes a big tree out of it. There is, as usual, a lot more going on here. Matthew strategically places the mustard seed parable in the middle of a story about gardening. Jesus surprises his listeners by telling them not to cut the weeds out of the wheat. The mustard seed’s growth could also be compared to wild weeds that grow through cracks in footpaths or a vine that vigorously takes over an area. There is an ancient text which forbade planting mustard seeds in Palestinian gardens because the shrub takes over, like how yeast works its way through dough! It is wild, out of control, and attracts unwanted birds. Author and activist, Shane Claiborne, compares it to kudzu, a wild vine that could blanket entire mountain areas, smother trees, even crack cement buildings.

People of Jesus’ time may have preferred the image of the lofty ‘cedars of Lebanon’ to explain God’s kingdom, where the nations could build nests like the eagles do. Now that image may have gotten a few cheers from the crowd! Mustard plants however, only stand a few feet tall. Jesus is turning the ideals of power and triumph on their head again. The image we have here is of the unwanted, detestable birds who find a home in this little shrub which cannot be curtailed. It will grow even where it is not wanted.

Jane Mellett

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