Learning to read back in primary school began with a series of cards or posters: A is for apple, B is for ball, C is for cat, D is for dog — and we worked so hard to learn those sounds: a-apple, b-ball, c-cat, d-dog. Once we learned to make the right sound to the right letter, we were able to sound out combinations of letters that formed words. And we were reading! A wonderful new world of story and expression and learning was now open to us. Think about how far you’ve come since See John run was the height of great literature.
And then there were numbers. First, we had to recognize that the numerals one through ten represented specific amounts of apples, biscuits, cents. Then we moved on, with the help of pie tins and pizza slices, to fractions. The next time you marvel at balancing your bank statement, stop and remember that it all began with ten apples.
Remember the first time you met your spouse? Maybe it was a chance meeting with a simple Hello, a few awkward words might have been exchanged until you finally screwed up your courage to ask her out or you said yes to his tortured invitation, and somehow, in God’s good time, the two of you connected —a relationship began and love blossomed.
None of us will ever forget the pandemic. It’s been a time of fear and anxiety, of confusion and frustration. Many parts of our lives stopped or took strange, unexpected turns; we learned to do without, we learned to adapt and — most important of all — we learned to depend on one another. We’ve walked some treacherous ground these past few years and we’re just starting to get our bearings again — but whatever the “new normal” will be like in the months ahead, many of us will begin our lives again with a little more gratitude, a little more patience, a little more humility.
The great events and moments of life begin with small things — from simple beginnings and basic principles life’s greatest accomplishments and journeys come to be. Humanity’s dreams of peace, community and justice are realized, first, in the simple, basic and small acts of goodness and generosity offered by individuals like you and me. Jesus invites us to embrace the simplicity of “mustard seed” faith: the ability to see the potential in the smallest of things and the courage and perseverance to unlock that potential. He calls us to realize the potential of the Gospel “yeast”: to let the grace of God transform the flour and water of our lives into the “bread” of hope, of forgiveness, of justice, of peace.