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The mustard seed.

"The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof " (Mt. 13:31-32).

In the East, the mustard plant can grow as high as 12 feet, though its seed is extremely small, so that the Jews in the times of Christ used to have a saying: "As small as a mustard seed." That the comparison of the Kingdom of God to the mustard seed was true was made visible by the rapid outspread of the Church in pagan countries. The Church, while starting as a small religious association insignificant for the rest of the world, represented by the few uneducated Galilean fishermen, spread throughout the entire world of that time within two hundred years, from barbaric Scythia down to parched Africa, from far away Britain to exotic India. People of the most different races, languages and cultures found salvation and the world of the Spirit in the Church, in the same way that birds find shelter in the branches of a great oak in a storm.

The transformation of a human by grace, discussed in the parable of the seed growing in the ground, is also seen in the next very short parable about <see next chapter>

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