Daily Reflection
July 28th, 2003
Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
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Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34
Psalm 106:19-20, 21-22, 23
Matthew 13:31-35a-32

"The Kingdom of Heaven is like ... "

After all of these years, it just "hit me" what the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast in the dough are all about.  I always knew they are about Jesus' hopeful, good-news description of the Kingdom of God - that its growth is almost imperceptible, but it will yield a rich harvest.  But, today, it seems so clear to me that these images break open Jesus' description for how God works in our hearts - how the reign of God reaches and works in us.

I've just had some time to spend with some wonderful friends I haven't been able to connect with for some time.  The time together with each of them was rich and warm, comfortable and easy, a time of almost hungry and delightful learning about each other - about experiences, struggles, how children are growing, deep sharing of faith.  It felt as intimate and blessed as many years ago, not having suffered from the distance of time, but rather had somehow matured and deepened even more, perhaps through deepening experiences and felt gratitude.  I have marveled, with real surprise, that I hadn't lost these relationships.  There remained a small, but ever present seed, a powerful yeast, a sustaining connection.

Isn't that reality about genuine relationships also true about our relationship with God?  Doesn't the Spirit "keep alive" a connection between us and God, even when we are "far away" and busy about too many things to "stay connected" through words or expressions of gratitude?  

The Spirit that Jesus gave us, so that we would not be "orphans" and so that we would have "access" to the Father, is always with us, perhaps imperceptibly.  The Spirit has one desire, one goal, one driving mission - that our relationship with God grows, that we be one in God.  The "connection" is always there, always alive, always ready to grow under the right conditions.

The evidence?  I sense it in the experience that all of us have, when a word, a touching story, stirring preaching, the challenge of a loved one, just "connects" with something deep in our hearts.  We can use lots of words to describe this experience.  I like the word, "resonance."  It's like two strings on a guitar, when one is fretted to match another - one string is plucked, and the other one vibrates, i.e., resonates the same note.

Our relationship with God is like that.  It needs only a little "re-connecting" and it's there, it's ready.  And, to our surprise, it becomes more mature because of all the experiences we have had - sometimes without benefit of our relationship - and always ready to grow into a big tree or to fill the whole dough or to mature into a wondrous relationship, sustained by the Spirit and inspiring us with a passion for the Spirit's mission of uniting, sustaining love.

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