Sunday, June 14, 2015, is the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings will be Ezekiel 17:22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10; and Mark 4:26-34.
On Sunday, in a sense, we pick up where we left off on February 15th, the last Sunday of Ordinary Time before Lent began. We are still in Cycle B which means that during Ordinary Time our Gospel readings come mostly from the evangelist Mark and depict Jesus in his public ministry, often in the midst of crowds, teaching people about the nature of God and God’s kingdom.
Jesus frequently used parables, or stories, to teach. He draws analogies between the familiar images and experiences of daily life and the Kingdom of God. We hear how God’s Kingdom grows like seed that sprouts and matures, almost mysteriously while the one who scattered it is busy about other things. The Kingdom is also “like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
Sunday’s Old Testament reading also uses a parable with plant imagery to teach about God’s way. In God’s hands that which seems lowly and insignificant becomes a magnificent part of God’s creation. Through the prophet, God describes tearing off a tender shoot and planting it on a lofty mountain where it will flourish, bear fruit and provide shade. Hearing these words the exiled people of Israel placed their renewed hope in the God who could “make the withered tree bloom.” This is the same God who inspires St. Paul as he encourages the Corinthians “we are always courageous…while we are at home in the body…away from the Lord [walking] by faith, not by sight.” Our eternal home is with God, but for a time we are part of God’s Kingdom here on earth that grows like the mustard seed, mysteriously and over time, into a presence that embraces all of creation.
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