I remember thinking to myself: “Is she listening? Is any of this sinking in? Does she believe me when I tell her that she matters and is capable of anything?”
During my time as a Jesuit Volunteer, one of my favorite students was so closed off in the beginning, but I could see this light in her eyes that told me otherwise. She acted too cool to talk to me (the librarian), but yet she couldn’t stay away. I tried reading with her or challenging her because I knew she was really smart. I desperately wanted her to know and truly believe in how smart she is. However, all I could do is plant the seed and hope that one day that seed grows within her.
The week’s readings brought this story came to the front of my mind. Jesus speaks of the Kingdom of God as a mustard seed—as one of the smallest seeds on earth, but one that grows into a very large plant.
These readings come at a perfect time, as we are just a few days away from the official end of spring. During these days, I am reminded of how important it is to continue to plant these seeds. We will never know which ones will grow, and which ones will not, but if we’re lucky we just might plant a mustard seed that will grow into something much bigger than we could have ever imagined.
We are not called to be master gardeners, as the poem Prophets of A Future Not Our Own similarly reminds us, but rather as someone who simply plants the seeds in our world. Even though we don’t always get to see the fruits of our labor, we are still responsible for planting seeds, and to never stop planting those seeds. The rest we surrender to trust in the process; we trust in God’s work in the world, and in our lives.
So now let’s reflect: What seeds are we planting in our own life, in the lives of those around us, and in our communities?
Alyssa Perez, a former Jesuit Volunteer in Belize City, is currently working at Loyola Marymount University in the Center for Service and Action as the assistant director of alternative breaks and advocacy. She completed the masters of nonprofit administration program at the University of San Francisco. Having been Jesuit educated for the past 12 years, she is deeply committed to Ignatian spirituality and being a leader with and for others.