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Generally, we tend to seek God in spectacular and miraculous places, not in what's small and insignificant. That's why it ends up hard for the Galileans to believe Jesus when he tells them that God is already acting in the world. Where could you feel God's power? Where were the «extraordinary signs» of which the apocalyptic writers talk?

Jesus had to teach them to grasp the saving presence of God some other way. He described to them his great conviction: life is more than it seems. While we go about living in a distracted way without grasping anything special, something mysterious is happening in the interior of life.

Jesus lived with that faith: we can't experience anything extraordinary, but God is working the world. God's energy is irresistible. You need time to see the final results. You need, above all, faith and patience to look at life down to its depths and intuit the secrete action of God.

Maybe the parable that most surprised them was that of the mustard seed. It's the smallest of all seeds, like the head of a pin, but with time it becomes a beautiful bush. By April, all could see flocks of goldfinches seeking shelter in its branches. Thus is «God's reign».

The upset had to be general. The prophets didn't speak thus. Ezekiel compared it to a «magnificent cedar» planted in a «high and lofty mountain» that puts out leafy branches and served as shelter to all the birds of heaven. For Jesus, the true metaphor of God isn't the «cedar» that makes us think of something grandiose and powerful, but a «mustard seed» that suggests what's small and insignificant.

In order to follow Jesus you mustn't dream of great things. It's wrong that his followers seek a powerful and strong Church that imposes herself over everyone else. The ideal isn't the eminent cedar on top of a high mountain, but the mustard bush that grows near the paths and welcomes the goldfinches in April.

God isn't in success, power or superiority. In order to discover God's saving presence, we need to be attentive to what's small, ordinary and daily. Life isn't only what it seems. It's much more. That's how Jesus thought.


José Antonio Pagola

 Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf

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