Homily for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Most of us don’t remember the first steps we took as toddlers but many of us might remember the first steps we took in learning to read when we were very young. It probably began with a series of cards or posters: A is for apple, B is for ball, C is for cookie. And we would work so hard to learn those sounds. Once we learned to attach those sounds to the particular letter, we were able to identify groups of letters that formed words. And once we were able to "sound out" words we were able to enter the wonderful world of reading. Think about how far we've come since "see Dick and Jane run" was the height of great literature.

And then there was math. First, we had to learn to count to ten, and then we had to recognize that those numbers represented specific numbers of apples, cookies, or pennies. Then we moved on, with the help of pie tins, to fractions.

For those who are or who have been married: Do you 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, then you worked up your courage to ask for your first real date, and somehow, you connected -- a relationship began, and love blossomed. And it all started with a simple, awkward, "Hello."

The great events and moments of life begin with small things: from simple beginnings and basic ideas begin life's greatest accomplishments and journeys. Humanity's dreams of peace, reconciliation, and justice will be realized, first, in simple, basic, and small acts of goodness of individual men and women. Such is the "mustard seed" of faith: that, from the smallest and humblest acts of justice, kindness, and compassion, the kingdom of God will be realized.

As Christians, each of us is called to help to bring about the Kingdom of God and to lead others to that Kingdom. This is a pretty daunting task, but we need to remember that we are not working on that task alone; we do so with all other people. And we need to remember that it is not all done at once; God’s kingdom is achieved one small step at a time. In an age where we expect things instantly, the idea of one small step at a time seems unbearable but it is the only way that we can truly answer the call to lead others to the kingdom of God. No step is too small; no movement is insignificant.

We pray today and always that we will have the faith, strength, and determination to make each small step on the journey to the kingdom of God. +

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