Scripture Studies, June 17, 2018 Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 17, 2018 Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Ezekiel 17:22-24

22Thus says the Lord GOD:

22Thus 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;

23on 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.

24And 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.

NOTES on First Reading:

* [17:22�23] The Lord will undo the actions of the Babylonian king by rebuilding the Davidic dynasty so the nations realize that only Israel�s God can restore a people�s destiny.

Second Reading: 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,

6for we walk by faith, not by sight.

8Yet we are courageous,

and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.

9Therefore, we aspire to please him,

whether we are at home or away.

10For 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.

NOTES on Second Reading:

* [5:6�9] Tension between present and future is expressed by another spatial image, the metaphor of the country and its citizens. At present we are like citizens in exile or far away from home. The Lord is the distant homeland, believed in but unseen (2 Cor 5:7).

* [5:10] We must all appear: the verb is ambiguous: we are scheduled to �appear� for judgment, at which we will be �revealed� as we are.

Gospel Reading: Mark 4:26-34

26Jesus 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

27and would sleep and rise night and day

and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,

he knows not how.

28Of its own accord the land yields fruit,

first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

29And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,

for the harvest has come.”

30He said,

“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,

or what parable can we use for it?

31It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,

is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.

32But 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.”

33With many such parables

he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.

34Without parables he did not speak to them,

but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

NOTES on Gospel:

* [4:26�29] Only Mark records the parable of the seed’s growth. Sower and harvester are the same. The emphasis is on the power of the seed to grow of itself without human intervention (Mk 4:27). Mysteriously it produces blade and ear and full grain (Mk 4:28). Thus the kingdom of God initiated by Jesus in proclaiming the word develops quietly yet powerfully until it is fully established by him at the final judgment (Mk 4:29); cf. Rev 14:15.

* [4:32] The universality of the kingdom of God is indicated here; cf. Ez 17:23; 31:6; Dn 4:17�19.

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