Sunday Says Podcast – June 14, 2015 Mass Readings and Reflections
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (NAB Translation)
Welcome to the Sunday Says podcast for June 14, 2015, the eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time. Thank you for joining us as we open up the Word of God to prepare our hearts and minds for this Sunday’s Mass. As we reflect on these readings, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us, to help good resolutions take form in our souls that we may live out what we have learned . As always our readings are taken from the Jerusalem translation for copyright purposes. Let’s go ahead and get started.
In the first reading from the book of the Prophet Ezekiel, we see God saying: “I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar, and will set it out; I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I myself will plant it upon a high and lofty mountain.” This poetic passage gives us a visual depiction of how God will take something very small, and transplant it for his purposes. Although the original reference here was to illustrate how God would restore the Kingdom of David from the remnants of the Hebrew people returning from exile, it also gives a more general illustration of God’s power to take small things and make them big. When the prophet goes on to say that the tree will sprout branches and bear fruit, he is laying a foundation for the language Jesus will use in His parable of the Mustard Seed. References to birds of every kind nesting in its branches present an image of how the new Israel will be universal or “catholic” in nature. Finally, when he says that God is the one who stunts the tall trees and makes the low ones grow tall, he is prefiguring Jesus’ statement in Matthew 23 that, “”whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
The response for the responsorial Psalm 92 is:
Lord it is good to give thanks to you.
This Psalm uses trees for imagery and so aligns with the other readings.
In our second reading from his second letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul reminds us that our life on earth is temporary. We are really not home yet. Our true home is with the Lord in Heaven, but until then, we must live by Faith not by Sight. Our faith should be a confident one even though we are living in the flesh as we progress toward eternal life. In the interim, even while still in the flesh, we must seek to do all that is pleasing to God. Before we can pass into eternal life, we must be judged by Christ who will reward us for how we used our time on earth.
In our gospel reading from Gospel of Mark, Jesus speaks in parables illustrating different ways of viewing the Kingdom of God. In the first parable, the seed represents the gospel and the field represents the hearers. Regardless of who sows or reaps, we can be sure that the Gospel will bear fruit by God’s divine power, even though we may not know how or even be able to see what’s going on behind the scenes. The second parable regarding the mustard seed echoes our first reading from the prophet Ezekiel in the way God takes something very small and builds something very great from it. This is exactly what happened with a small group of disciples who were able to able to build the universal Church that has spread throughout the world over the centuries. God will take the smallest efforts on our parts, or smallest amount of faith, and transform these into something great. It is a great mystery how God’s initiative and the small efforts that God requires of us interact to fulfill his will. We may never know how God uses what we do, or why things don’t seem to work the way we think they should, but we are promised that if we act in Faith and obedience, that God will use what we have done to bear fruit.
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