During his ministry, Jesus is often trying to describe the Kingdom of God (or, in the gospel according to Matthew, the Kingdom of Heaven). In today’s gospel, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God, God’s presence in our midst, to a seed that is sown, and produces a rich harvest. The seed is normally quite small, yet the plant that grows from the seed is quite big and majestic, as majestic as the renowned cedars of Lebanon in the first reading.
Although the seed that is sown is often small and insignificant, the Kingdom of God grows into a big shrub that can offer shade to the birds of the air! We often cannot see the seed hidden in the ground, it is like a word that is spoken and disappears into the air, only God knows what fruit the seed and the word will produce. Like the farmer, our role is simply to sow the seed and to water it, it is God who makes his Kingdom grow.
Biblically and theologically, the Kingdom of God cannot be identified with the Church; although the Church is indeed part of this Kingdom. As we reflect on the public life of the Servant of God Joseph De Piro, we recognise that part of his contribution in the Kingdom of God was through his dedication to the Church in Malta and abroad.
During his thirty-one years as priest, Joseph De Piro served as assistant priest at the Qrendi parish; acting parish priest of Gudia parish; procurator of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Consolation, Qrendi; financial administrator of the Franciscan Minors Convent, Rabat Malta; Canon and Dean of the Cathedral Chapter; effective member of the General Committee of the XXIV International Eucharistic Congress (1913); co-rector of the Manresa Retreat House, Floriana; director of the Confraternity of Priest Adorers; secretary to Archbishop Caruana; member of the commission for the formation of young priests; deputy of the commission for the temporary administration of the Major Seminary; rector of the Major Seminary; member of the Maltese Pontifical Chamber; co-operator in the foundation and growth of three Maltese religious congregations: Daughters of the Sacred Heart, Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus, Missionary Sisters of Jesus of Nazareth; president of the Special Consultative Committee for the restoration of St Paul’s Church, Rabat Malta; minister of the word and the sacraments.
His love for the local Church pushed De Piro to love beyond the geographical limits of the Maltese islands and to dedicate himself to the Church abroad. In The Incarnational Aspect of the Spirituality of Joseph De Piro (part two, chapter three), there is information about his dedication to evangelisation.
De Piro evangelised to the Maltese in Malta, Maltese expatriates and among ad gentes peoples.