Spirituality for Today – February 2011 – Volume 15, Issue 7

The Mustard Seed

By Alexander O'Toole

In May of 1993 I experienced massive congestive heart failure and was rushed to the hospital, placed in intensive care and put on life support. At that time my doctor told me that if 1 did not have a heart transplant I had less than six months to live. Now for me to have someone else's heart just did not seem right at my older age, so I was eventually release from the hospital and sent back to my home tethered to an oxygen tank. I was so weak that it would take me fifteen minutes to get from the first floor to my second floor bedroom by sitting on one step and pushing with both hands up to the next step, resting and staring all over again. I had to have all of my groceries delivered and a visiting nurse came in for part of the day to assist me. Throughout the day I would pray the Rosary and every night when I retired, I held my Rosy over my heart with my bible in the other hand and prayed the Rosary for my recovery until I would drifted off to sleep.

A photo of a scoop of mustard seeds

Now believe it or not, within several months I saw a miraculous improvement in my energy level, I could now walk up the stairs to my bedroom, do my own shopping, cook my own meals and of course wash my own dishes. Within the so-called six month I had to live, I made a complete recovery and returned to normal, and what do you think my doctor had to say about that? Well his answer was that the initial assessment was incorrect, that I never had congestive heart failure. Now how's that from wiggling out of a tight corner?

One of the outstanding features of Jesus' ministry where all the healings that He preformed of which there are twenty recorded in the four Gospels of the New Testament, but no doubt those represent only a small portion of the ones He did, for as John noted at the end of his Gospel, "I doubt there would be room enough in the entire world to hold the books to record them". [John 21:24 New American Bible published by Catholic Press 1970] And in Jesus' healings there always seemed to be a 'spiritual footnote' that hinged upon one's faith and Jesus noted this when He healed the two blind men. "As Jesus moved on from there, two blind men came after him crying out. "Son of David, have pity on us!" When he got to the house, the blind men caught up with him. Jesus said to them, "Are you confident I can do this?" '"Yes, Lord," they told him. At that he touched their eyes and said, "Because of your faith it shall be done to you"; and they recovered their sight." [Math 9:28-30]

The theme of one's faith playing a major role in healing is carried out many times and another example of this is seen in the healing of a woman with a bleeding issue. "As they where going, a woman who had suffered from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his clock. "If only I could touch his clock," she thought "I shall get well." Jesus turned around and saw her and said, "Courage Daughter! Your faith has restored your health." That very moment the women got well." [Math 9:20-22] And again in Luke we see another example of where one's faith played a crucial role in the healing of the sick.

There is a story concerning a centurion who had a servant whom he held in high esteem that was so sick, he was on the point of death, so the centurion's friends went to seek out Jesus to heal the servant. When the centurion's friends and Jesus arrived at his home, he said, "Sir, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter my house. That is why I did not presume to come to you myself. Just give the order and servant will be cured." Jesus said, "I tell you, I have never found so much faith among the Israelites." And when they returned to the house they found the servant had been healed." [Luke 7:1-9]

Thus again we see that faith played a major role in the healing of the sick, but as with all things there are varying degrees of faith and Jesus reveals the kind of faith we need. "I assure you if you had the faith the size of a mustard seed, you would be able to say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible for you." [Mathew 17:20-21] Pause for a moment and think about the implications of what Jesus has told us. Many of today's non-catholic progressive theologians will tell you that Jesus was speaking allegorically, in other words 'symbolically' and certainly not figuratively. These same progressive theologians will also tell you that Jesus was not really God in the flesh that again He was speaking symbolically. No, No, No, Jesus was talking about moving an actual mountain, not a small anthill, but an entire mountain, for again as the angel Gabriel told Mary, "For nothing is impossible with God". [Luke 1:37]

What we appear to forget today is that Jesus could have summoned a legion of angels (6,000) to His aid when He was hanging on the cross and they could have easily flung the earth into the Sun, but He did not, Jesus suffered for us. No Jesus meant just what He said and it is about time that we Christian begin to take Jesus at his word. Jesus meant am actual mountain like Mount Rushmore or Mount Helena or any mountain for that matter. To me this boggles the mind; how could a monstrous mount of earth that has been in its position for millions of years, just pick up and move? Now if we are truly followers of beloved Jesus, than we must take His words as the absolute truth, all things are possible with God and He was not talking symbolically or metaphorically, He meant just what is written in the Gospels.

In Mystical Christianity, the spoken word has incredible power, for in the beginning God spoke the Word and said, "Let there be light" and in the Gospel of John we find that, "In the beginning was the Word", and again, "the Word became flesh and made is dwelling among us." [John 1:1 & 1:14] And that Word is telling us that we must develop the trust that a tinny mustard seed has and thus total complete faith in Jesus to heal all our ills, for each of us has our own personal mountain to be moved, be it illness; financial issues; family problems or a laundry-list of other personal problems, to which we must have the faith to say, Jesus please heal me.