Fr. Michael's Thoughts on Biblical Imagery: The Little Things


(Fr Michael Boakye Yeboah: Vice Rector of St Gregory Seminary, Kumasi-Ghana)


            In my place in the world our elders say powerful medications come in little bottles. In life one will make a big mistake if (s)he judges a being or a thing by his, her or its size. As regards things, you remember when the Lord introduced to his audience the mustard seed? It is the smallest of all seeds but when it grows, it turns out to be the biggest of all trees. Isn’t that awesome? So also, we have read in history of little men who when met on the streets could be mistaken to be a master’s valet, only for one to enter the household and find out that he is the Lord of the House. A little but powerful man of that caliber is the one-time self-acclaimed king of the world - General Napoleon Bonaparte. Be careful not to misjudge little beings and things, because it is their Lord who is in charge of things, not men. If the Lord is in charge He can choose the “little” Bethlehem and the “little” Mary in the first reading and Gospel reading respectively to shame the proud.

            In today’s first reading, the prophet Micah introduces us to a theme that can be likened to the above. The inspired writer initiates his prophecy with these words: “Thus says the Lord: You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel…” Why will the Lord choose the “little Bethlehem-Ephrathah”? The answer lies in Isaiah 55:8-9: his thoughts are not our thoughts; his ways are simply not our ways. At times the Lord chooses what society deems irrelevant to tell a story. Men may have a single story about you (your beginnings in life); but let me tell you that is not your only story. The Lord has another account: be patient until you receive the Lord’s visitation in your life and you will tell another story. Time, age, clan, continent, race or color do not hold the key to one’s life story. It is only the Lord who determines that. A clear example is what the inspired writer tells us in today’s Gospel.

            In today’s Gospel, we read of the marvelous story of a simple village girl Mary. Unlike her husband Joseph who hailed from the house of David, Mary was “a nobody”. What was her lineage and clan? The village (Nazareth) she hails from had a bad reputation. Nothing placed Mary among the elect in society. In her nothingness God found her worthy to be the mother of the Christos. Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit, describes Mary perfectly: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greetings reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy…” Was Elizabeth fully conscious of her words? This is her little cousin who lives in Nazareth that she was describing in those words; but remember Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit to bear witness. Note that one day, close relations and friends who think that they know you will tell a different story.

            I would like to think that Mary was shocked to hear those words about her. But that is the story of those who find favor with the Lord. The world may see you as nobody but in the eyes of the Lord you are the world. Mary’s town folks never came to terms with her new identity because when her Son returned to Nazareth they rained down insults on him because they knew his poor mother and to them how could such a poor village woman be the mother of the Messiah?

            Have you encountered situations in life when you are judged by your humble beginning or your background? Do not worry too much because that always seems to be the story of those that the Lord chooses. You may be little in the eyes of people today but tomorrow they will have a different account of you.




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