I have a mustard seed and I’m not afraid to use it
In the spring of this year, our parish of St. Patrick here in Hamilton, ON launched the De Mazenod Farm, yet another outreach initiative to help the poor and marginalized in the inner-city. The farm grows produce, houses bee hives and raises egg-laying chickens to provide food for Hamilton’s hungry who visit the De Mazenod Door, 365 days a year. The goal is to create a sustainable source of healthy, locally-grown food for our guests, to produce a whole bounty of goodness and cultivate a community of love and compassion.
The farm is my favorite place to spend time, to escape physically and mentally, to find hope in the times of “bad news” and the overwhelming experience of the pandemic.
It’s amazing to witness first-hand how nature can bring hope. The last couple of weeks I spent with Father Tony and other volunteers, planting seeds. So far, we planted squash, zucchinis, melons, cucumbers, turnip and, of course, Newfoundland’s cousin turnip greens! A variety of seeds were “buried” under the earth with the hope of a fruitful harvest.
Every time I visit the farm, the first thing I do is check on the fields to see if the plants, initially hidden under the ground, are coming to life. It’s a beautiful miracle of nature to watch! Just like today’s Gospel describes it: “someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.” (Mark 4:26b-28)
Jesus uses this image to teach us a powerful message of hope, resilience and transformation through little acts of kindness. “It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” (Mark 4:31-32)
Pope Benedict XVI once said, “I have a mustard seed and I’m not afraid to use it.”
We all have those small seeds of goodness in our hands and our hearts. It might be a simple word of kindness, a listening ear of empathy, a tear shared with the broken and hurt. It might be a shared gift of talent, time or treasure with those in need. It might be a heartfelt apology and also forgiveness to those who hurt us. It might be a prayer offered for others or a small sacrifice for the intention of another. It might be many things – there are a lot of seeds of goodness that should be planted to bring truth, healing and reconciliation.
We have a mustard seed – let’s not be afraid to use it!
By Jarek Pachocki, OMI
OMI Lacombe Canada – Vocation Director