This gospel about the mustard seed is familiar to so many of us, and I think we all understand the larger point Jesus is trying to make – that even a little bit of faith can work wonders. That it can grow, and strengthen, and make possible miracles.
But there is something else here that is easy to overlook, another message worth remembering.
It is a reminder to us of how much God treasures those things that are small.
After all, He came to us as one who was small Himself – a helpless baby, without a home, in a forgotten corner of an occupied country.
He feels a special affinity for those things in this world that are weak. Overlooked. Neglected. Dismissed. Little.
I think of St. Therese of Lisieux, whose feast day we celebrate today – a young woman, barely more than a girl, who hid herself in a Carmelite convent and vowed to find her path to God through what she called her “Little Way.” She died at just 24 – and is hailed today not only as one of the most beloved saints, but as one of the greatest doctors of the Church.
Or consider the woman who took her name, Mother Teresa — now Saint Teresa of Calcutta — who dared to embrace and love those nobody else would even touch. She once said that while we may not all be able to do great things, we can all do small things with great love. That message has moved millions of all faiths – and even those of no faith – all over the world.
Great things often begin with something small. And, on this particular Sunday, when we are called to honor life, our hearts and minds are drawn to those who are the smallest of all. Those who are often dishonored, and even discarded.
Those who are – literally — the size of a mustard seed.