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in Omaha, Nebraska, since 1878
Reflections on the Daily Readings
from the Perspective of Creighton Students

January 31st, 2014
Madeline Zukowski
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“With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.  Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.” –MK 4:33-34

For those of us who go to mass every Sunday or are even just a little familiar with the New Testament, we are aware that Jesus speaks to numerous crowds in parables. I went to a Catholic grade school, and I remember trying to understand these parable passages in religion class.  Even when I hear these passages at mass or read them on my own today, I still don’t fully understand them. These parables are often about customs or ideas that were unique to the culture of the people Jesus was speaking to. 

Today we hear the parable of the mustard seed.  I couldn’t tell you what a mustard seed is, so reflecting on this passage, I decided to do some research about the mustard seed. A mustard seed is like a weed; once you plant one, it grows and grows until it overtakes any living vegetable or flower in a garden.  In Jesus’ time, it was against Jewish law to plant a mustard seed because it would kill anything and everything that prevented it from growing. 

If we turn this parable, specifically related to Jewish culture, into a modern one, it would be something like this. The Kingdom of God is like a computer virus; once one person sends an email with the virus attached to it, it grows and grows and infects a million other computers. In fact, the Kingdom of God is like any contagious disease; it can spread and affect many other people. 

It may be a little weird to compare the Kingdom of God to ideas such as these, but I believe that the Kingdom of God is such an abstract idea that we as humans will never be able to understand it fully. For now, we’ll have to rely on Jesus’ parables.  The parable of the mustard seed helps us see that with God, small things can become an epidemic.    

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