Our God is a God of surprises.
We know that in the time of Jesus people were expecting the Messiah to come in a way that was very sudden, very visible, and very powerful. However, for Jesus, the true metaphor of God’s reign was a small, weak, and seemingly insignificant mustard seed (Mark 4:26-34). The people had a choice to make: they could continue to wait for the God who would meet their expectations; or they could embrace the God who was already in their midst.
Perhaps we too have struggled to place our faith in a God who acts much differently than we often expect.
As Bishop Robert Barron observes, “It seems to be the law of the spiritual life that God wants good things to start small and grow over time.”. We see this trend throughout all salvation history. The elderly Abraham and his barren wife, the blessed Mother, the tiny Manger, the first 30 years of Jesus’ life. There have been countless Saints whose contributions were only recognized after their death. We don’t have to look far to see evidence of all that God has done through so many people whose identity and efforts would have seemed to be small and insignificant at the time.
To illustrate this point, Jesus used an illustration the crowds would have been very familiar with: farming. First there was planting, then waiting, then harvest. No one knew how the seeds that were planted would grow, but the farmers knew something mysterious would happen under the soil that would eventually reap a harvest everyone could feed on. Likewise, the Kingdom of God grows in ways we often do not understand.
God invites us to be the sowers by using the gifts He has given us to plant the seeds while God acts quietly, subtlety, and mysteriously to bring forth from those seeds a harvest of hope, renewal, healing, and salvation. Even the smallest acts of charity, kindness, and forgiveness can yield a rich harvest of hope and change in the life of someone else which then has the potential to expand to other lives through them.
This is because the harvest is always greater than what any one of us can do by our own effort.
This should inspire us to not lose patience or become discouraged when results of our efforts or answers to our prayers don’t come in the timeframe we are expecting. Especially in today’s world with all we are going through. As the Church continues to lose members and face an increasingly secularized world, we cannot underestimate the impact each of us can have if we remain committed to planting the seeds of faith, hope, and love in our world. Do we have faith that God will nourish those seeds and yield a harvest?
Saint Augustine once said, “And you all say, ’The times are troubled, the times are hard, the times are wretched.’ Live good lives, and you will change the times by living good lives.” – Saint Augustine (Sermon 311, 8). In other words, the change we want to see begins with us.
We plant seeds as we live lives of virtue, justice, and peace. Even when our small efforts to live rightly seem to yield little in a world that chooses other values, our faith calls us to trust that by remaining faithful to living as God calls us to live, we are planting the seeds that will one day grow through the power of God.
 Bishop Robert Barron, Daily Gospel Reflection (01/28/2022), Email.
 Augustine, “Sermon 311,” in The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century. Translated by Edmund Hill, O.P. Edited by John E. Rotelle, O.S.A (New Rochelle, NY: New City Press, 1992), 72.