From the Pastor – June 14, 2015“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it?  It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.  But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” (Mk 4:30-32)

The people listening to the parables of Jesus didn’t always understand the meanings of His parables, but they surely understood agriculture.  A farmer can work as hard as he wants, but he can’t “make” a seed grow into a plant.  All the farmer can do is create the best environment for growth by planting in good soil and watering.  In the end of the day God causes the growth to occur.  So when Jesus is describing the Kingdom of God, He’s telling people “It’s in God’s hands!”  These words gave the early Church a great deal of encouragement.  Despite attacks from the Pharisees and persecutions from the Romans, God would provide growth.

And those words have been relevant to the Church in every age.  We are members of the most important, relevant organization that the world has ever known.  We are members of the Body of Christ, the Kingdom of God, the Catholic Church.  No other hierarchical organization in the world has ever grown so quickly and lasted so long.  And we shouldn’t be surprised, either, since the head of this hierarchical organization is Christ, Himself.

I remember being in Rome during the funeral of Blessed Pope John Paul the Great.  And I remember watching news coverage by a reporter for CNN, Christine Amanpour.  And as she viewed the millions of people lining the streets of Rome for the funeral, she wondered to her audience how the Catholic Church was going to “remain relevant” without John Paul II.  Imagine!  There were over two BILLION people watching the coverage, and she’s wondering about the future relevance of the Church!

This short-sighted naïveté characterizes most of those who only know the Church from the outside looking in.  From the inside, we are assured of the Church’s future “relevance” because the Church was founded by Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God.  The Church is relevant because it’s the Body of Christ, and no one is more relevant than God.

So whenever the Church is under attack, we should remember three things: (1) Jesus promised that we would be persecuted (Mt. 24:9-28); (2) Jesus promised that the Church would endure forever (Mt. 16:18), and (3) Jesus promised that the Church would continue to grow (Mk 4:30-32).

The Church is forever because Christ is forever.  And it won’t stop growing until He comes again!

Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty