Have you heard of the Beatles? I bet your parents and grandparents have had, especially those who were teenagers in the 1960’s. It is a rock band of four handsome, talented and young English men, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, who are also known as the Fab Four. They sold many hit albums worldwide and had trotted to many parts of the globe. Everywhere the Fab Four go, thousands of shrieking and weeping fans greeted them, not to mention those who would faint at the sight of these young Brits. The hysteria they created among fans was later coined as Beatlemania. The Beatles is undisputedly the world’s most influential singing group of all time. One Direction, a British boy band of recent years, could not even come close to the Beatle’s popularity.
About two thousand years ago, Jesus started a movement with his twelve apostles. Instead of performing love songs, he taught the people of Israel and the surrounding regions with a radical teaching about the Law of God and the Scriptures. People from different parts of the Jewish world at that time would travel far just to see him. These people come because of Jesus’ reputation as a prophet who heals the sick, drives out demons and teaches with a new authority. Many people followed him wherever he went. It created hysteria among those who came and heard him.
But unlike Beatlemania which died down in the 1970’s, Jesus’ movement survived the test of time. His apostles and disciples successfully established churches. Some disciples and leaders of Christian communities wrote accounts and testimonies that would eventually become the books of the New Testament. The church established by Peter has now become the Roman Catholic Church with the popes as his successors. Later on, members of these churches, unhappy with the leadership, started Christian communities that continued to be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus. All churches and communities received so much grace from the Holy Spirit that sustained them and gave them courage and strength through the years of persecution and challenges. Christianity, with the bible and traditions protected and promulgated by its leaders, has survived and has spread to all lands in the world up to this date.
During his time, Jesus already knew that this would happen. He spoke of his kingdom like a mustard seed. This is a parable in the gospel today about Christianity in which Christ as the seed humbled himself, accepted all beatings, and died to himself so that he can rise again and be broken and shared by his Church from generation to generation.
Jesus told the parable about the kingdom of God as one mustard plant and not two or a myriad. This is the reason why the Roman Catholic Church greatly desires to work harmoniously with other Christian Churches and communities in her earthly mission. It is really a challenge for us to settle our differences, allow faith, hope and love for Christ and in Christ to heal our past differences and misunderstandings.
The power of the Kingdom of God could only be appreciated if we “walk by faith, and not by sight” as St. Paul mentions in his second letter to the Corinthians. The Kingdom of God is not just a movement of believers on earth. God promised to bring His new people to His kingdom, to his heavenly homeland. He is like a sower who waits until the grain is ripe for harvest so he can wield his sickle and bring the full grain back home.
This is a challenge to all Christians to remain faithful and courageous in the midst of hardships in our life. Let us believe that God is mightier than our struggles and trials. Let us trust His words that he can “bring down the high tree and lift up the lowly tree.” With full confidence, we can declare to flourish like the palm tree that is planted in the courts of our God.
We are more than followers of a charismatic rock band. We are followers of Jesus Christ, the risen Son of God. And so we must walk by faith as One Church and stand strong through the power of Holy Spirit in living out our purpose and mission. We should never forget that Jesus, the humble seed who died for us, is gathering us, his people on earth, until we share in the majesty and glory of our heavenly homeland with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Oh blessed Mother of the Church, intercede for the protection of the body of Jesus from division and lead us to greater unity and peace!