ROME — God works in ways that are small and hidden and grow silently until they give fruit, Pope Francis said.

“The kingdom of God doesn’t come in a way that attracts attention,” like “a show” or “carnival,” he said Nov. 16 in his homily at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The kingdom does not reveal itself “with boasting, with pride, it doesn’t love publicity,” he said, because it is “humble, hidden and that way, it grows.”

The pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from St. Luke, in which the Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. Jesus replies that the coming of the kingdom “cannot be observed and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.”

Doubts or questions about “when” God’s kingdom will come are seen often in the Bible, the pope said.

But Jesus says, it “is among you,” a simple message that is hard to comprehend, Francis said.

Jesus uses the parable of the seed to explain how his kingdom “grows from inside, hidden away or is found” in a small, simple, but surprising way.

“The kingdom of God is always a surprise,” he said, because it is a gift the Lord bestows; it is not the result of “pastoral plans, great things.”

The Holy Spirit, who is “within us,” is the one who makes the seed grow, blossom and give fruit.

The pope asked people to examine their consciences in prayer, and ask, “How is my relationship with the Holy Spirit, the one who makes the kingdom of God grow inside me? Do I truly believe the kingdom of God is among us, is hidden, or do I like a big show better?”

Pray that the Spirit helps that seed grow “in us and in the church with strength” so that it can give the fruit of holiness, he said.