Frodo Baggins was an ordinary guy without much potential. His passions were similar to the folks around him, he lived in a small town and would have probably been content to be there the rest of his life. He had friends, even though some of them were rather strange, and he read a lot, which made him a bit more bookish than most. Yet when it came time, he was able to put it aside for a huge mission, when he was called on to do something to benefit the whole world, he was able to answer the call. He grew as he made his journey, became more than he started out as, although the core of him didn’t change, and that rooting in reality kept him from falling too quickly into temptation, kept him on track on a mission that seemed hopeless.
Mustard seeds are tiny, about the size of medium grind pepper. It is amazing how big they can grow. Similarly, the Disciples were ordinary guys from nowhere: fishermen, tax collectors. They definitely weren’t picked by wandering rabbis as the brightest and best of their class, and when Jesus called them to put their lives aside and embrace the unknown, they were able to do it in spite of their hesitation and their lack of understanding their leader. They ran away on the night in the Garden, but Jesus gave them a second chance, commissioned them to carry the Gospel to the world. They carried out their mission in spite of the fact they were ordinary guys, in fact, in many ways this is evidence that God was behind what they were doing, that such small town guys with ordinary talents were able to start a movement that still lasts today. We’re here because that mustard seed they represented took root and still takes root today, takes root in us.
We may feel insignificant, but we carry the mustard seeds of the Kingdom, which will grow no matter what. Sometimes its easy to say that we don’t have what it takes, that we’re too ordinary to be living witness of Christ, but that’s the best way the Body of Christ grows, not through dynamic preachers or inspired leaders, but ordinary folks living faith based lives. It’s contagious, it’s irresistible, and if we let it, it can change the world. All we need to do is be who we’re meant to be, just like those men Jesus taught about the mustard seed.
We received the Body and Blood of Christ as a mustard seed. We need to let Christ grow in us ordinary people. It’s something Pope Francis is trying to teach us, and something he’s showing us as much as anything else. The Gospel is something we need to cultivate, take root in us, and if we do, it will overflow to shelter the world.