Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Mustard Seed

We are now in the season of Ordinary time. Ordinary time is associated with the color green. In the atrium, we say it is a time of growing. During Advent and Christmas we focused on Jesus as a small baby. During Ordinary time we talk about Jesus as a man. We concentrate on the parables of Jesus. Today in the atrium I presented the parable of the mustard seed. The scripture is from Matthew 13:31-32.

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the 'birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.'"

What do we take from this lesson?

Children from 3-6 are interested in the world at large. They are global thinkers. They see the 'whole picture' in a way that they will lose as they age. In presenting the parables of the kingdom of God, we are taking their love of the world and helping them to see that God has provided the 'least of these' with the greatest love. 

We present the parable of the mustard seed by presenting the children with real mustard seeds and a photograph of a mustard tree. We help them see the disparity between the beginning (tiny seed) and the end (large plant). We ask wondering questions: I wonder what the seed needs to grow into a huge plant? I wonder why Jesus told us this story? I wonder how a mustard seed is like the kingdom of God? And on and on with our wondering questions.

I never provide the answers. 

It is through our wonderings that the children begin their journey of contemplation of the scriptures. Their answers to our wondering questions often provide me, the adult and 'catechist' with insight I never would have had otherwise. It is often in the simplicity of the young child that the complexity of the Gospels is understood.

I'm looking forward to presenting two more parables this year: The parable of the pearl of great price and the parable of the good shepherd.