Daily Reflection
July 28th, 2008

Andy Alexander, S.J.

University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

There are powerful images in the readings today. God does an earthy demonstration for Jeremiah. Using a very memorable image - God is as close to Israel as a loin cloth is close to our bodies - God has Jeremiah put his loin cloth in a place where it will rot. It demonstrates how the people have neglected their relationship with God and let it rot. A powerful reflection for all of us to help us not take our relationship with God for granted.

Jesus uses two powerful images to help us understand this new relationship, which he calls the Kingdom of God. We can see that he is addressing our impatience. These images are especially helpful for us who are used to things happening faster and faster. I know that I'm tempted to say to the Lord, "I don't see it happening!" At times I even say, "It's not working; there's no movement here; no growth; people aren't responding; your grace isn't having an effect."

Sometimes our impatience is with ourselves and the slow pace of our ability to change or respond or de-selfish ourselves. Most of the time, however, we are simply impatient with others. We can't see any big change or growth in loved ones or friends or colleagues or fellow parishioners. We just say there is no growth, no grace there at all. Ultimately, our impatience is with God.

Jesus tells us that the way God works is different than our ways. Small seeds matter. They shouldn't be counted for nothing. The slow, almost imperceptible growth of yeast, in swelling up a batch of dough, is a perfect image for God's grace within us and among us.

It really is about trust. Trust in God. And, it is about opening our eyes to be shown what has been "hidden" from the eyes of so many. With this "revelation" we can appreciate, value, have confidence in, be consoled by tiny seeds and the marvelous power of yeast.

Dear Jesus, help me be less impatient today. Slow me down. Let me breathe at a different pace, until I recognize your work before my eyes. Let me savor your subtle ways, your gentle movement, your quiet growth. Let me smile with you at how very small things can make a very big difference. And, when I can't see it, let me trust that you are always there, with me, within me, around me, inviting me to believe and to live with confident hope in your ways.
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