11th Sunday Ordinary Time

How does anything become a part of you? How does something become a part of who you are?

Take for instance your favorite sports team. When did you first enjoy watching your team? Were you just a child? Did you watch your favorite players on TV or in person? Did you imitate them? Did you strive to adopt their ways? Did you try to move like them when you played the game?

With your favorite sports team, do you have anything that lets other people know that you are a fan? Do you have a shirt or a cap or a sweatshirt that proclaims your loyalty to your team? Do you talk about your favorite sports team to others? Does your sports team still bring you joy?

The answer to these questions for most of us is – YES! We were most likely introduced to a particular sports team by our family and it just became a part of us over time. We looked to those who play the game well and tried to imitate what they did. And we proclaim our loyalty through clothing or other objects in our home – like a baseball, a pennant, or a poster

Now that we understand this in terms of sports, what about our faith? When did we first began a relationship with God, a prayer life – both private and within the context of a faith community? When did you first go to church? Did your family teach you prayers? Do you seek to follow the example of Jesus? Do you seek to follow the example of holy men and women – both the official saints and also those personal living saints that we have in your lives ? Do you talk about your faith with others? Do you have any proclamation to the world that gives public witness to your faith and your identity as one who follows Christ?

Scripture today uses an image of a seed. A seed is something that has growth. However the growth is slow. It happens over time and often is unseen. This is an image we can understand. However seeds need to be nurtured. They need sun and water. How do we nurture the growth of our faith? Daily prayer is one answer. Worship in community is another answer. Reading and praying Scripture is another way to have our faith grow.

It seems that the image used in Scripture is delivering a simple message. We need to allow our faith to grow overtime. It needs to be a part of who we are. It needs to be in our very mind, heart, and spirit. More than a sports team it needs to be integral to our identity.

Today let us receive the Holy Word of God. May the gift of faith always grow in our hearts and in our lives

First Reading
Ez 17:22-24

I have lifted high the lowly tree.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel

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
Ps 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16

R. :

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.

Second Reading
2 Cor 5:6-10

Whether we are at home or away, we aspire to please the Lord.

A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

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 one may receive recompense,
   according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

Acclamation before the Gospel

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the word.
All who come to him shall live for ever.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Mk 4:26-35

It is the smallest of all seeds, and becomes the largest of plants.

✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark

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 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.

At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

All reply:

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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