16th JUNE 2024




Ez 17: 22-24               Ps 92: 2-3, 13-16           2 Cor 5: 6-10          Mk 4: 26-34


The Bible is full of parables, from the first pages of Genesis to the last pages of the Apocalypse. God’s Word, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit is the Supreme Being and the Supreme Reality. But that reality is absolutely beyond human words. Hence, parables are needed to convey descriptions of Divine reality. God is entirely spiritual, whereas all human knowledge begins with the senses. In his great desire to reveal himself to mankind, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. In this way, he became accessible to the senses. Not only did the Word become accessible to the human senses, but he became accessible to the senses through a specific nation and culture, that of the children of Abraham. This enabled Jesus to approach his audience through parables and comparisons, stories and metaphors, already used by the prophets before him. This is quite manifest, for instance, when we compare the first reading of today with the Gospel reading.

The first reading from the Book of Ezekiel presents us with a powerful image of God’s promise to His people. Just as a tender shoot is planted and grows into a majestic cedar tree, so too does God promise to nurture and strengthen His chosen ones. This image reminds us of the patient and steady work of God in our lives, gradually transforming us into vessels of His grace and love. The Responsorial Psalm echoes this theme of growth and flourishing in the Lord’s presence. Like palm trees and cedar trees planted in the house of the Lord, we are called to thrive and bear fruit in His sanctuary. This imagery serves as a reminder of the nourishment and sustenance we receive from dwelling in the presence of God, allowing His Word to take root in our hearts and minds.

In the second reading, Saint Paul speaks to the Corinthians about the reality of life beyond this earthly existence. He reminds them, and us, that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord. However, we walk by faith, not by sight, trusting in the promises of God for our eternal inheritance. This passage encourages us to live our lives with an eternal perspective, knowing that our ultimate destiny lies in union with God in heaven.

The Gospel passage from Mark, presents us with two parables that illustrate the nature of God’s kingdom. The first parable describes the mysterious growth of seeds sown in the ground. The farmer sows the seed, but it is God who ultimately brings about the growth. This parable reminds us of the importance of faith and trust in God’s providence, even when we may not see immediate results. The second parable compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed, which starts as, the smallest of all seeds but grows into a large shrub, providing shelter for birds of the air. This image highlights the seemingly insignificant beginnings of God’s kingdom, which then blossoms and flourishes beyond our wildest imaginations. It reminds us that God often works in ways that are hidden and unexpected, yet ultimately fruitful.

As we reflect on these readings, we are called to examine our own lives and our response to God’s call. Are we willing to allow God to plant the seeds of His kingdom in our hearts, trusting in His timing and His plan for our lives? Are we willing to persevere in faith, even when we may not see immediate results? The message of today’s readings is one of hope and encouragement. They remind us that God is constantly at work in our lives, nurturing and guiding us along the path of discipleship. They call us to trust in God’s promises, to live with an eternal perspective, and to embrace the growth of His kingdom within us.

As a tree has many branches, so the kingdom of God has many branches. The kingdom of God is established in individual persons, in the hearts of believers, who have become living temples of God. As we continue our journey of faith, may we be like the tender shoot that grows into a mighty cedar, firmly rooted in the love and grace of God. May we trust in His providence and allow His kingdom to take root in our hearts.

Response: It is good to give thanks to you, O Lord.

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