Now how did this start? How did we learn how to read? We started, most of us, with blocks and individual letters. We learned what sounds these letters represented. Then we put the letters together and learned how to spell words. We even learned new words. We put the words together and learned new concepts or reinforced that which we had learned. In very small steps we went from the letters on the blocks to being able to read the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas.
It all began in a small way. It all began with letters. The Kingdom of God is like a child learning his or her letters. Time goes on and Mom and Dad and teachers work with the child, and the child's ability to read grows so great that the child becomes a professor of English Literature. And so it is with the Kingdom of God. Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa taught their children their prayers. They brought their children to Church and taught them with their lives to value their relationship with the Lord. And their children became parents and did the same. And their children are the Moms and Dads of our parish. The Church is full of good Christian men and woman, people of all walks of life, even priests, all living the values of the Kingdom of God, the spiritual realities of life.
And now you are doing the same. You are teaching the ABC's of religion to your children. You have faith that the Kingdom of God will spread through them. So, don't wonder if anything is getting through to the children. Don't allow yourself to think that maybe nothing is happening for your children. Trust in God. If a child who learns his letters can become a professor of English Literature, a child who learns the simplest lessons of faith can become a great force of love for the Kingdom of God. Say prayers with your children. Allow God to turn the tiny mustard seed into a great plant.
The parable of the mustard seed: the little efforts we make for the Kingdom of God have a tremendous impact upon the world. The parable of the weeds and wheat: God has infinite patience. He is not about to give up on his people. We should not give up on others. And we should not give up on ourselves.
The parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the weeds and the wheat. Two simple parables. Two simple stories. Two tremendous sources of encouragement for us ■
 Sunday 20th July, 2008, 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: Wisdom 12:13, 16-19. Lord, you are good and forgiving—Ps 85(86):5-6, 9-10, 15-16. Romans 8:26-27. Matthew 13:24-43.