Through the centuries, Christianity has been much damaged because of triumphalism, the thirst for power, and wanting to impose oneself on our enemies. There are still Christians who yearn for a powerful Church that fills church buildings, conquers the streets and imposes our faith on the whole of society. We need to go back to two small parables where Jesus makes clear that his followers’ task isn’t to construct a powerful religion, but rather to put themselves at the service of the Father’s humanizing project (God’s Reign), sowing small seeds of the Gospel, and mixing themselves into society as a bit of leaven in human life.
The first speaks of a mustard seed that is sown in a garden. What’s special about this mustard? That it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it grows, it becomes a bush bigger than the other vegetables. The Father’s project has some very humble beginnings, but its transforming force can’t be imagined even now. Jesus’ activity in Galilee of sowing deeds of goodness and justice isn’t anything grandiose and spectacular: neither in Rome nor in the Jerusalem Temple are they aware of what’s happening. The work that his followers are doing today is insignificant: the power centers ignore it. Even we Christians can think that it’s useless to work for a better world. Human beings keep on committing the same horrors over and over again, seemingly forever, and we are incapable of catching on to the slow growing of God’s Reign.
The second parable speaks of a woman who mixes a little leaven into a large mass of flour. Without anyone knowing how, the leaven goes about working silently until the whole mass is fermented. That’s what happens with God’s project of humanizing people. Once it is introduced into the hearts of even a few, it goes about quietly transforming human history. God doesn’t act by imposing enormous pressure on us; rather, by attracting our consciences to a more worthy life, one that is more just and fraternal.
If we just trust in the word of Jesus, the Spirit of God is still working among us, promoting solidarity, a love for truth and for justice, yearning for a happier world. We need to collaborate with God’s project by following Jesus. A less powerful Church, one that is more lacking in privileges, poorer and closer to the poor, will be freer to sow seeds of the Gospel, more humble in its living in the midst of the people as the leaven of a more worthy and more fraternal life.