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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus describes the transforming power of the kingdom of God by comparing it to a mustard seed and yeast. The Church is the Body of Jesus, the living organism that makes present Christ’s mind and will in the world. It is his love made flesh throughout the ages, his hands and feet and eyes and heart.

We are all, through Baptism, members of that Body, hence organically related to him and to each other. Our purpose is his purpose: to carry the nonviolent and forgiving love of God to a hungry world, to go to the darkest places in search of sinners, to be both judge and bearer of salvation.

The Church’s responsibility is not so much to make itself accessible to the world but rather to transform the world. It is the mustard seed, the leaven. In Augustine’s terms, it is the City of God making its way within the City of Man.

When we are most authentically ourselves, embodying the spirit of Jesus—or better, being his Body—we are most compelling and convincing. When we make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, we exercise our mission properly.