Good News in Jesus’ Alliteration
Jesus must love alliteration. He uses it so effectively in today’s Gospel. His message is of millstones, mustard seeds and mulberry trees. Jesus wants his disciples and us to remember who we are and what we need. His words are harsh, even frightening. Yet, as severe as Jesus’warnings are about sin, his words of comfort are even greater. Sin is a serious matter. Sadly, we sin — a fact as heavy as a millstone.
What hope then can we cling to? It is forgiveness. We need to say "I am sorry" not just once, but every time we sin and cause others to sin. We need to forgive one another even if we have been wronged repeatedly. " I am sorry," and "I forgive" are the words that will unloose the millstone.
We are called to avoid sin and scandal, to seek forgiveness and give it. This may require heroic virtue. Are we capable of it? We know own weakness all too well, and so wobbly-knee’d, we stand with the disciples who plead "increase our faith!"
The good news lurks in alliteration. As massive as the millstone is, faith the size of a mustard seed is more massive yet. Where sin tosses us into the sea, forgiveness plants a tree there. Forgiveness transforms us, much like a millstone, to mustard seed, to mulberry tree.
Deacon Manuel Valencia is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.