God of the Little Things. Homily for 14th Sunday Ordinary Time
Over the past several weeks, the Parish Staff has been reading the Carmelite Father Wilfred Stinisson’s book Into Your Hands, Father: Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us. The book review mentions that,
In the spiritual life, we need a central idea: something so basic and comprehensive that it encompasses everything else. According to Father Stinissen, surrender to God, abandonment to the One who loves us completely, is that central reality. The life of Jesus shows us the centrality of abandonment, for it is truly the beginning and the end of his mission on earth.
Fr. Stinissen writes about three stages of surrender:
- Submitting to God’s will in the various circumstances of life.
- Obediently caring out what God gives us to do
- Total and absolute surrender to God’s holy will. Not spiritual readings, examinations, and resolutions, then submitting them to God and discerning what God wishes you to do. It is simply total abandonment and surrender. You let God bring the readings, the examinations and the resolutions. You accept anything and everything that God brings into your life, with no exceptions, without hesitation.
That third one is difficult. There is always that abiding fear, even in a relationship with a God who not only loves us, but has proven it numerous times. We are always afraid that God will ask too much of us or will humiliate us or take too much from us.
Perhaps we can take some consolation from the ”Universal Prayer of Pope Clement XI:”
“Lord, I believe in you; help me to believe more firmly.
I trust in you; help me to trust more surely.
I love you; help me to love you more surely.
I am sorry for my sins; help me to deepen my sorrow.”
Sure we believe, but we still have doubts. We trust, but not completely. We love, but it’s far from the total love written about by St. Paul. What’s comforting is that the prayer recognizes this. It doesn’t ask for perfection. It asks simply that we:
- Acknowledge we’re not there yet
- We’ve made some progress
- We still need God’s help
But we can bring “a little.”
If we look in the Gospel of Matthew, 13:31-35, we see that God is a God of the little things. Don’t have much belief? I only need mustard-sized faith. Have a big crowd and only a little food? I can do something with that. Looking for importance? Little children enter the Kingdom.
As one preacher says, “The promise is not in proportion to what is provided.” Just bring me what you have. I can not only do something with it – I can do great things with it – and with you.
So what do little things look like?
- Plant a seed of joy. Give that to God.
- Smile even though you’re wearing a mask. Give that to God.
- Do a random act of kindness. Give that to God.
- Take the furthest parking spot. Leave the parking spot that’s closer to the store for someone else. Give that to God.
This isn’t that hard, is it?
Is this not a “yoke that is easy?”
Is this not being “meek and humble of heart?”
Mustard seeds have infinite potential. They can, and do, grow. Just bring a little bit. See what God does.