DAILY MASS READINGS (June 17, 2018)

11TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (CYCLE B, Green)

 

Reading 1 (EZEKIEL 17:22-24)

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I, too, will take from the crest of the cedar,
from its topmost branches tear off a tender shoot,
and plant it on a high and lofty mountain;
on the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it.
It shall put forth branches and bear fruit,
and become a majestic cedar.
Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it,
every winged thing in the shade of its boughs.
And all the trees of the field shall know
that I, the LORD,
bring low the high tree,
lift high the lowly tree,
wither up the green tree,
and make the withered tree bloom.
As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16)

R. (cf. 2a) Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praise to your name, Most High,
To proclaim your kindness at dawn
and your faithfulness throughout the night.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
The just one shall flourish like the palm tree,
like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.
They that are planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
They shall bear fruit even in old age;
vigorous and sturdy shall they be,
Declaring how just is the LORD,
my rock, in whom there is no wrong.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

Reading 2 (2 CORINTHIANS 5:6-10)

Brothers and sisters:
We are always courageous,
although we know that while we are at home in the body
we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yet we are courageous,
and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
Therefore, we aspire to please him,
whether we are at home or away.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each may receive recompense,
according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower.
All who come to him will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MARK 4:26-34)

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is 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.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

Reflection: In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray these words: “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The Kingdom of God has already come, but we haven’t fully attained it. There is still a process in our lives that we have to manifest in order to reach eternal life with God. The Readings today speak about the Kingdom growing and growing. In the First Reading (Ezekiel 17:22-24), the Prophet Ezekiel prophesies about the promise of God, which is the restoration of Israel, that is like a cedar growing from its boughs. 570 years before Christ, the Prophet has already prophesied that Israel, who has turned away from the Lord, will turn back, and be regenerated. That is why there were visions of the dry bones, sprinkling water, water flowing from the right side of the Temple, etc. This restoration of Israel is prefigured in our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom, and offered his life on the Cross for our salvation. In the Gospel (Mark 4:26-34), we hear two Parables, which is two seeds, the Growing Seed and the Mustard Seed. A farmer planted the seed, then at night slept, until in the morning it grew and became fruitful for the harvest. The mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds, but it grew large bushes and branches for birds to dwell. These two Parables may have different settings, but they connect into one thing, the Kingdom of God. “The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). These were the words of our Lord Jesus Christ when he began his Public Ministry. Before his time, people did not know about heaven, until when he came, he proclaimed that it is now in our midst, but it has not yet fully come, so we must change our lives and believe in the Good News. God’s Kingdom is not like any other kingdoms that have feudalism, manorialism, militarism, nationalism, and imperialism. As subjects of our Lord Jesus Christ, he treats us as friends, so we are tasked to be faithful to him, and to do good deeds. Like the two seeds, the Kingdom of God grows fruitfully at the proper time, and it is being prepared for the faithful people who have done good during their lifetime on earth. We can also be with God in eternal life if we continue to do what is right, and to avoid what is evil, which is also known as freedom. In the Second Reading (2 Corinthians 5:6-10), Saint Paul reminds us to appear faithful before the Lord, especially when the Judgement Day has come. “We walk by faith, and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). This verse can be manifested by pleasing the Lord, doing acts of charity and service to our brothers and sisters. In the end, we will all be judged based on our actions. So while we are still alive, let us not waste this opportunity to proclaim the Good News, and manifest its values, as the Kingdom of God is already in the process of our lives, and it is waiting for us, if we are faithful, to sit at its thrones, and see the Lord face to face. As we journey down this road, may be servants of our Lord, and proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom to the different corners of the world, which is growing like a seed unexpectedly at night and like a mustard seed, from small realities into large ones.

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