Reading 1 (JEREMIAH 13:1-11)

The LORD said to me: Go buy yourself a linen loincloth;
wear it on your loins, but do not put it in water.
I bought the loincloth, as the LORD commanded, and put it on.
A second time the word of the LORD came to me thus:
Take the loincloth which you bought and are wearing,
and go now to the Parath;
there hide it in a cleft of the rock.
Obedient to the LORD’s command, I went to the Parath
and buried the loincloth.
After a long interval, the LORD said to me:
Go now to the Parath and fetch the loincloth
which I told you to hide there.
Again I went to the Parath, sought out and took the loincloth
from the place where I had hid it.
But it was rotted, good for nothing!
Then the message came to me from the LORD:
Thus says the LORD:
So also I will allow the pride of Judah to rot,
the great pride of Jerusalem.
This wicked people who refuse to obey my words,
who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts,
and follow strange gods to serve and adore them,
shall be like this loincloth which is good for nothing.
For, as close as the loincloth clings to a man’s loins,
so had I made the whole house of Israel
and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the LORD;
to be my people, my renown, my praise, my beauty.
But they did not listen.

Responsorial Psalm (DEUTERONOMY 32:18-19, 20, 21)

R. (see 18a) You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
You were unmindful of the Rock that begot you,
You forgot the God who gave you birth.
When the LORD saw this, he was filled with loathing
and anger toward his sons and daughters.
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
“I will hide my face from them,” he said,
“and see what will then become of them.
What a fickle race they are,
sons with no loyalty in them!”
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
“Since they have provoked me with their ‘no-god’
and angered me with their vain idols,
I will provoke them with a ‘no-people’;
with a foolish nation I will anger them.”
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.

Alleluia (JAMES 1:18)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MATTHEW 13:31-35)

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.'”

He spoke to them another parable.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened.”

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:

I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation
of the world.

Reflection: The First Reading narrates the story on how God told the Prophet Jeremiah to buy a loincloth and wear it. Then the prophet is told to hide it on the cleft of a rock at Parath. After some time, he is commanded to retrieve it, however the loincloth became rotten and good for nothing. It is a prefiguration of the fate Judah will suffer because of the wickedness and pride of the people. Eventually this happened when the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar seized Jerusalem and brought all the exiles into captivity in Babylon. But the famous story actually ends in God’s faithfulness toward his people. Eventually when the Persians under Cyrus the Great came into power, all the exiles returned to their original homelands, especially the Jews have returned to Judah and promised to live justly and faithfully in the eyes of the Lord. The Gospel Reading narrates Jesus’ two parables about the Kingdom of Heaven, which are the Mustard Seed and the Yeast. Towards the end of the passage, Isaiah’s prophecy has been quoted, which explains the background behind Christ’s method of teaching in parables. Here Jesus compares the growth of God’s Kingdom to a mustard seed, which is considered to be the smallest of seeds, but when planted, it fully grows into large plants for the dwelling of the birds of the sky. He also compares it to a yeast that a woman mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the batch rises. The two parables clearly explain how the Kingdom of God is continuously growing. It shows to us that God’s reign is continuously being manifested in our lives. And we see in this reign the values of love, joy, and peace, wherein they show what kind of Kingdom does God belong and rule. In fact that’s how the Church started from the Apostles to the early Christian communities and eventually  continuously growing to the many followers of Christ. That is how we recognize the Lord present in our midst. Our humble beginnings remind us how we are molded into the very image God wanted us to be. That is why our proper disposition calls us to be humble and dedicated to serve him and others despite all the achievements and successes that we have attained in life. Lastly may we always grow in faith, hope, and love to realize that we have a Lord who is understanding and just.

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