Today’s Gospel: Matthew 13:31-35
I used to bake bread. Without a Kitchen-Aid mixer or bread machine; just me, a bowl, a wooden spoon and the kitchen counter. It takes effort to knead dough, it’s messy, it’s not quick. But once it is in the oven, and the smell permeates all through the house, and the butter is softening, and just when you think you can’t wait one more minute – it comes out of the oven, and even if it doesn’t look perfect, it’s delicious, especially with butter melting on it. The effort was well worth the reward.
Getting the kingdom of heaven takes effort. We start out with this little bit of faith and it grows and grows. While it is true that faith is a gift, we do have to accept it and nurture it. You cannot set yeast and flour on the counter and hope for bread. You need to exert effort. So it is with our faith and desire to help bring about the kingdom of heaven here on earth.
St. Ignatius of Loyola wanted to help others grow in faith. One of his most well-known ways was “The Spiritual Exercises” which can be done by everyone. One of the reasons why he is a favorite saint of mine is his emphasis on practical advice for all, including lay people. He wanted everyone to experience the freedom that comes from letting go of the things of this world and offering all that we do for the greater glory of God. Ignatius tells us that “man was created to praise, reverence and serve God our Lord, and by this to save his soul.”
How can I praise, reverence and serve You today, Jesus?
Father God, help me to praise, reverence and serve You, not only to save my soul but to help bring about the kingdom of heaven. Amen.
Copyright 2017 Deanna Bartalini