16th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020 – Year A

19 July 2020

Wisdom 12:13, 16-19          Romans 8:26-27          Matthew 13:24-43

Jesus uses parables to teach important lessons to his audience. Three parables are given in today’s Gospel.  One of the parables is that of the mustard seed.

In Nigeria there are many examples of a “mustard seed” developing into a “great tree”. For example, in 1862, when the first two SMA missionaries landed in Lagos, they nailed two planks into a cross and planted it on the beach and said, “we claim this land for Christ“.  Near that spot now – 148 years later – stands the beautiful Holy Cross Cathedral, the mother church of several million Catholics in Lagos Archdiocese.

Another example is the small building which Fr Carlo Zappa SMA erected in 1908 in a small town [Asaba] in the mid-west of Nigeria. He called it a “Seminary”. This seemed rather foolish at a time when Catholics were few and vocations seemed unlikely. But the seminary gradually developed and 112 years later, there are dozens of seminaries all over Nigeria, preparing young men for priesthood at home and abroad. The seed has certainly grown into a great harvest.

In every country and in every walk of life there are examples of small things developing into great things – if we only open our eyes to see them. A mustard seed, indeed any seed, is a mystery in itself. If you hold a seed in your hand, it looks so lifeless, but what an amount of “knowledge” it contains. It knows how to get nourishment from the soil, and the kind of leaves and flower and fruit to produce. What miracles there are in the world around us.

Even the least of us can be a powerful influence on those around us and on our world by quietly living our Christian life.

Fr Fintan Daly SMA, Ibadan, Nigeria

Click here to listen to an alternative homily from Fr Tom Casey SMA, Ndola, Zambia

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