Film still from The Mission,
Starring Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro,
Winner of both a Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival and a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay,
Directed by Roland Joffé,
Released in 1986,
© Columbia & Warner Bros., The Mission
The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
Jesus put a parable before the crowds: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.'
He told them another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.'
In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy: I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.
Reflection on the Film Still
Today's parable of the mustard seed teaches us how transformation starts in the humblest of ways. Change starts from the smallest beginnings, like a mustard seed, in the hearts of women and men who are open to receiving God's word. We know how powerful the Word of God is, but are we ready to receive it and let it grow inside us and take us over?
Jesus speaks to us in parables to help us receive His word. The images Jesus uses, such as the mustard seed today, help us to better understand His teachings and let these seeds take root in the fields of our souls. If asked whether we are ready to receive God's Word, most of us would say, 'Yes of course, I am ready for it'. But are we? Do we have the readiness of mind to receive what He is telling us?
I was once told that receiving the Word of God is similar to watching a film. There are different ways. Reading the Gospels is like watching a movie in a straightforward manner. Studying the Gospels is like watching a movie in slow motion, talking time to analyse what is said to us by God. Meditation is similar to pausing one single frame of the movie, and analysing it in depth (the cinematography, light, acting, expressions, colour balance, setting, etc…). I think maybe what we try to do here on the website daily is to freeze on a single frame of the day's Gospel and look at one aspect of it, in light of the whole film of the Gospel reading of that day.
Hence for today's reflection, I want to use a film still, a single frame, of a film that has been influential in my life: The Mission. This film has been like a mustard seed to me. I was 15 years old when it came out in 1986, and it had a profound impact on me. So much so in fact that I would say that the film helped sow the seed of one day pursuing a vocation to the priesthood….
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