Thursday, 10 June 2021

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year B - Sunday, June 13, 2021 (EPISODE: 304)

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year B - Sunday, June 13, 2021

(EPISODE: 304)

Readings for Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year B
FIRST READING: Ezek 17:22-24
Ps 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16. ""
SECOND READING: 2 Cor 5:6-10
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION ((no bibl. ref.)). Alleluia, alleluia! The seed is the Word of God, Christ is the sower. All who come to him will live forever.
GOSPEL: Mark 4:26-34

Image Credit: Shutterstock licensed image ID: 1117234178 -Spring Time Blooming Yellow Mustard Flower - By VivL
Please listen to the audio-recordings of the Mass – (Readings, prayers and homily), for Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year B - Sunday, June 13, 2021, by clicking this link here:   (EPISODE: 304)

I love the wonderful practicality of the prayers for this weekend's liturgy…   the opening prayer,  or the "collect" as it is called,  gathers our many prayers and thoughts and distils them in these wonderful thoughts:  "Grant us the help of your grace always,  so that we may please you with our resolve and our DEEDS…"
In other words, may your help and guidance Lord, lead us to pleasing attitudes and practical action.
The first reading this weekend and the Psalm refer to the image of the majestic and awe-inspiring sight of the towering cedar trees of Lebanon.  This was a familiar and powerful image representing God's Kingdom, and God's people. It was a strong, powerful, impressive and providential image.
But then we move to the gospel. Jesus asks himself:  "What image can I give you for the Kingdom of God?" 
The people would have expected him to refer to the traditional image of the royal, strong, immovable Cedar tree, which towers over everything else and can be seen far and wide.  
So, it is extremely surprising when Our Lord uses quite a different image. Christ tells us the Kingdom of God starts out like a mustard seed, a tiny, almost imperceptible seed, virtually inconsequential to the casual observer. And yet this tiny seed grows up to become the largest shrub.  Here again, Our Lord deeply surprises his listeners. He does not say that the tiny seed grows to become the largest tree of all. No, it becomes the largest SHRUB!!!  
His point is both surprising and beautiful!  Our Lord is telling us all that God's Kingdom is not only to be seen in the obvious and towering grandeur of a mighty Cedar tree, but it is much more subtle and widespread. God's Kingdom is still sturdy and productive, and more down-to-earth. The Kingdom is more widespread. At times it can be patchy and certainly looking less "royal"  and "majestic" and more suburban. It is more practical and "every day,"  but it is better adapted to producing many fruits and is also adapted for survival in many different harsh environments.
But, just like the image of the cedar, this large shrub, which has grown up from a surprisingly tiny mustard seed, still provides adequate shelter and welcoming protection for all that gather under its leaves. Again, not so high-class, but every bit as effective and much more involved in the lives of those around it. God's Kingdom doesn't tower loftily over everything else. Rather, it is in-and-amongst everything and involved directly in its surroundings.
This image is a good one that gives us hope and courage.   Our human efforts can be spasmodic and of varying consistency. However, God is constantly and quietly at work, in obvious as well as invisible ways.
We can help or hinder God's work. We can cooperate in it or frustrate it.  But whether we cooperate or block God's work, God keeps working and will succeed in the end. No matter what setbacks or frustrations, God is willing us to keep working away with his grace and our hopes will be richly rewarded.
Sometimes the smallest seeds of action for good, lead to the greatest transformations. We ought never to underestimate what God is working on in our lives. For example, the extraordinary Rosa Parks, an African-American lady in 1955 during the time of segregation in the USA>  She sat on a bus seat at a time when the law insisted that African Americans had to vacate their seats for white people, irrespective of their age.   Rosa refused to move and was arrested.  This seed of resistance sparked a whole human rights spotlight that transformed that nation and inspired the world.  When I first heard the story of Rosa, I was moved by the wonderful integrity and bravery of this action which led to enormous results.
God is at work all the time in big and small ways and we, his disciples, are called to respond to what God is doing and jump in and cooperate with it.
It is good for us to keep in mind the purpose of the sowing of the seed and its harvesting… the seed is to produce fruits. God's word is a powerful seed that is planted and nurtured to produce fruits…  We must not fall into the trap that the Pharisees and scribes did in Christ's day. They turned the seed of God's word and Kingdom into an academic novelty and an exercise in endless rules and regulations. The Faith became almost a thing in itself, separated from its purpose to produce the fruits of God's kingdom..  love, compassion, kindness, mercy and faithfulness…. And so much more…
To use a rather bold image from an ancient writer….   "sheep do not 'spit-up' the grass they have eaten, in order to show the shepherd how much they have consumed. No, they digest the grass and process it and it turns into something tangible to produce wool and milk…."  
So, we too plant the seed of God's word and nurture it by God's word and sacrament and by constant prayer and thanksgiving to the Lord… and God's grace sets to work in us to produce real and practical fruits for the building up of God's kingdom. Never just for itself but for the greater glory of God and God's Kingdom. 
Fr Peter Dillon – Homily   

This Sunday's gospel is for gardeners who appreciate botanical metaphors as it refers to the slow, inevitable growth of the kingdom. Plants grow with no complex planning. The seed is scattered with no discernible pattern. After water and sunshine weave their magic, a green shoot cracking out of a shell, creeping through the soil, pushing up, tiny but unstoppable: A perfect example of the Reign of God - slow, determined growth at times haphazard, but when harvested, it nourishes the world.

  This was a parable for his disciples who were slow to understand, dispirited, scared, and divided. Are you saying the kingdom of God is about us? Are you saying the reign of God looks like our parish, the mess we are in?

The reign of God is slow to reveal itself, unending, unbeatable and growing right here and now.

  The Kingdom of God is like a seed planted by the sower, it has a life of its own which carries on regardless of what the sower thinks or does - of its own the land produces - so with God, no matter how much we worry, feel depressed, inadequate, the work of God will go on. With this faith then we should have confidence in the power of God that God will bring to completion the work begun.

  Every couple committing to marriage will eventually come to appreciate is that their relationship is like the sower planting a crop.

   A farmer plants for a future which cannot be seen, a harvest that does not yet exist, they hope to feed people yet people may choose not to buy their crop. The farmer relies on weather which is risky & unpredictable, yet he still prepares the earth and plants the crops.

 The Marriage rite speaks of the hopes and disappointments, successes and failures, pleasures and pains, joys and sorrows are hidden from your eyes. You know that these elements are mingled in every life and are to be expected in your own, not knowing what is before you, but trusting in God's companionship, you take each other through the best and worst of what lies ahead until death.

Sometimes we feel that the Church, which once seemed like a mighty cedar with spreading branches, is withering. We should then remember Ezekiel: he was a prophet in a foreign land and he looked to the future when Israel would be restored by God. We must never forget that God can make the withered tree green and the tiny sapling grow.

  The Lord is the planter of the small shoot which becomes the mighty tree. The tree is not an end in itself. It provides branches for the birds of the world to nest in & fruit for them to feed on. it can offer rest & sustenance.

  The mustard seed is the smallest of seeds. We need not fear if our community is small, unequal to the task. It will be the yeast in the dough.

   St Paul speaks directly: we will all get what we deserve whether good or bad. Let us face our failures and their results, but again let us remember Ezekiel. We are God's people and we can never be abandoned. We only have to turn to Jesus and throw the seed on the land knowing that it will be nurtured. The seeds are love, unselfishness, humility, patience - root out the weeds of pride, selfishness, exclusivity & elitism.

   Paul opens his heart in confidence, like a Father to his children. 'Your father has something to tell you.' His heart's longing. Hope. Make our home with the Lord. Let us be like the psalmist and give thanks to the Lord looking forward, with God's help, to flourishing like the palm tree and growing like a cedar of Lebanon.

The seed of the Kingdom of God has been implanted within me and you, within your spouse, your children, your sisters and brothers, your friends and neighbours, in strangers and even in your enemies. But the seed will sprout and grow according to God's intentions, only to the extent that we recognise it happening in each other. If we listen to today's readings and to the centuries-old teaching of the Church, we hear that God brings forth our growth through grace, not through our own efforts and direction. We cannot control but we can co-operate. Prepare the soil with patience & gentleness for nurturing.

Christ gives us his assurance, the seeds of love and faith in us will grow a thousandfold to become the very foundation of God's kingdom here on earth. So never forget the adage that says: early in life we die if we do not receive love: later in life we die if we do not give love.


Homily by Fr Peter Dillon

Prologue - Fr Paul W. Kelly

Barclay, W. (1975). The Gospel of Mark. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: St. Andrew Press, (Including a quote from the Greek Philosopher Epictetus; Link, M. (2000).

Mission. Praying Scripture in a Contemporary Way. Year B. Allen, Tex.: Resources for Christian Living"}

{Image Credit: Shutterstock licensed image ID: 1117234178 -Spring Time Blooming Yellow Mustard Flower - By VivL }

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year B  (Sunday, June 13, 2021(EPISODE: 304 )
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
{{May Our Lord's gift of hope encourage you.}}

Brothers and sisters, the Lord is full of love and mercy. And so, as we prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries, let us acknowledge our sins. 
Lord Jesus, you call your people to turn away from sin: Lord, have mercy//You teach us wisdom, and write your truth in our inmost heart: Christ, have mercy//You forgive sins through the ministry of reconciliation: Lord, have mercy//
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.
Memorial Acclamation
2. When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.



{May God's love, strength, mercy and kindness guide you all this week. }

Go forth, the Mass is ended.

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Further information relating to the audio productions linked to this Blog:
"Faith, Hope and Love - Christian worship and reflection"  - Led by Rev Paul Kelly

Prayers and chants  — Roman Missal, 3rd edition, © 2010, The International Commission on English in the liturgy. (ICEL)

Scriptures - New Revised Standard Version: © 1989,  and 2009 by the NCC-USA. (National Council of Churches of Christ - USA)

"The Psalms" ©1963, 2009,  The Grail - Collins publishers.

Prayers of the Faithful -   " Together we pray" by Robert Borg'.   E.J. Dwyer, Publishers, (1993) . (Sydney Australia).

Sung "Mass In Honour of St. Ralph Sherwin" -  By Jeffrey M. Ostrowski. The Gloria,  Copyright © 2011

- "Faith, Hope and Love" theme hymn - in memory of  William John Kelly (1942-2017)--     Inspired by 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. Music by Paul W. Kelly. Arranged and sung, with additional lyrics by Stefan Kelk. 2019.

"Quiet Time."  Instrumental Reflection music. Written by Paul W Kelly. 1988, 2007. & This arrangement: Stefan Kelk, 2020.

- "Today I Arise" - For Trisha J Kelly.  Original words and music by Paul W. Kelly. Inspired by St Patrick's Prayer.  Arranged and sung, with additional lyrics by Stefan Kelk. 2019.

[ Production -  KER -  2021]

May God bless and keep you.


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