What is the Meaning of the Parable of the Mustard Seed?

Some people have said that our faith relationship with Christ is a 50/50 relationship: We work toward our salvation with our free will and God does the rest of the work to get us to heaven. Fr. Larry Richards speaks of this common belief in a YouTube video on Confession. As he says in the video, this belief is false; it’s a heresy known as Pelagianism. Pelagianism states that we are able to by — our own free will– work our way toward our salvation apart from God’s grace. Keeping in mind this heresy, let’s explore the meaning of the Parable of the Mustard Seed.

Meaning of the Parable of Mustard Seed

The power of faith

The Catholic Church states that faith is a completely free gift from God and that we cannot earn salvation by our own actions. Because God is not a tyrant, we are invited by His grace to accept or refuse it by another of His gifts: free will. If we accept salvation through the gift of faith, our soul is called into heaven after our earthly death. If we refuse this gift, we condemn into hell. Jesus uses the Parable of the Mustard Seed in synoptic  Gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke) to explain the power of faith.

The parable of the mustard seed

Gospel_of_Mark_Chapter_4 Jesus says in this parable, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants (Matthew 13:31-32). Jesus is telling us here that with a small amount of faith in His grace, God will transform our lives in big ways.

Accept God’s will into your life!

This parable points to the magnificent power that God can have in our lives with only a small amount of faith from us. We are invited to accept it with our free will. God does all of the work to bring us to our salvation in heaven, but he cannot do so if we reject His grace with our free will. This parable is not about the role we play in obtaining our salvation. It is about the power that God can work in our lives if we choose to say YES to His grace.

For the times we struggle to accept the power of God’s grace in our lives we can look to our Blessed Mother’s example when she said, Yes to God as the angel Gabriel announced that it was God’s will that she bear His Son in her womb. Her response indicates that she did not fully understand what was spoken to her, and she may have even been afraid of this. Still, she accepted God’s will into her life.

How to understand the meaning of the Parable of the Mustard Seed?

The Parable of the Mustard Seed reminds us that God is not asking much from us in order to bring about our salvation. He is inviting us to say YES to His grace so that it may bring us into heaven.

How can you say YES to God’s will today?

Answering this question in a small way each day can help you understand the meaning of the Parable of the Mustard Seed.

What do you think?  Do you agree with my explanation? As always, I expect your remarks.


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