January 30: Expecting Wonders! Irish College, Rome

“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God? …It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants.” (Mark 4:26)


We know that we are coming to the end of our Jan Term pilgrimage in Rome as we gather this evening for Mass. Perhaps we have developed an almost heartfelt sentimental quality to these three weeks together. Because these are moments that we live — and can never hold on to, but will always remember.

Tonight’s gospel tells us how these moments we have shared are powerful “seeds of faith” that can grow and have the potential to affect our lives in times to come.

Father David, Ginny and I will be but a vague memory of yours – and in your life time, you may come back to Rome, years from now — and say a prayer for your classmates, and those of us who brought you to Rome at this very precious time in your college life.

Henry David Thoreau, the famed American writer of Walden Pond, has a particular line for us.

He writes: “Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders!” So we expect wonders from you!

We who are from Northern California know the mustard seed. This time of year, that plant’s golden luster has spread among the branches and vines that will bring its yield of grapes for the September harvest. The mustard seed, we are told, is the smallest of objects, but has the potential for enormous growth.

This parable of Christ is among the most vivid and long-lasting images of the Kingdom of God. It helps us to see things differently, to wait for the harvest to come, to value the small and the ordinary, only to witness its robust growth in seeds of grace.

“Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders!”

The Kingdom of God is that invisible “kingdom of the heart,” that is at hand, within you and your grasp. It knows no place, no particular country, no peculiar institution, or heaven, an alternative world.

Rather, the parable tells us that this Kingdom of God resides in you, the Body of Christ, and your efforts to bring about the peace, hope, love, justice and even the healing reconciliation of Jesus Christ – in a world so in need.

This “invisible Kingdom of the heart,” is the very miracle of abundance and transformation made possible in Jesus Christ – day by day; and the grace of this journey of faith has planted a seed in your life that challenges growth now, so possible in you, and in the years to come.

“Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders!”

Villa Irlanda, Irish Pontifical College, Rome, Italy

“Walking in the Footsteps of the Early Christians,” Saint Mary’s College, Pilgrimage to Rome Jan. 12 – Feb. 2, 2015.



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