St. Rita Roman Catholic Church
1008 Maple Dr.
Webster, NY 14580
585-671-1100
Masses: Sat 5:00 pm
Sun 7:30; 9:00 (children's liturgy); 10:30 am
Mon-Fri 8:15 am
Reconciliation: Saturdays from 3:30-4:30 pm;
Wednesdays after morning Mass (about 8:45)
Office Hours: M-Th 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Fri 9:00 to 12:00 pm

The Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass

The Parable of the Mustard Seed
(Mark 4:26-34
)
". . . . AND THROUGH IT ALL THE SEED WOULD SPROUT AND GROW, HE KNOWS NOT HOW."
 
Our Scripture readings this Sunday focus our attention on the small seed (or small shoot) that, with the grace of God, will grow into a mighty tree with room for all the birds of the sky (people of all nations).
 
In our first reading (Ezekiel 17:22-24), we hear the beautiful allegory representing God's restoration of Israel. So great will this majestic cedar be that "birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it."  In the Christological sense, the small branch represents the Christ, plucked from the majestic tree of David.

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.

In our Gospel reading (Mark 4:26-34), Jesus relates two parables about seeds that teach us that God is the source of all growth and that even the smallest of beginnings, nourished by God, can change the world for good. It is God who commands the seed to rise, though the farmer is unaware.

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 through it all 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.
 
In our Epistle reading (2 Corinthians 5:6-10), St. Paul teaches us that our life here on earth is temporary. Our bodies are a "home away from home", until we rest in the Lord. At death, we will receive the merits of our life here on earth.

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

We sometimes have two roles. At times, we are the fertile ground in which God plants his seed and with God's grace, produces much fruit. At other times, we are the sowers of the seeds God gives us to plant. We, in our aspirations of grandeur, sometimes look for the largest of seeds to plant, when in reality, it is often the smallest of seeds, the smallest of deeds, that bear the most fruit. It is not for us to know what becomes of the seed. "Of its own accord, the land yields fruit". We, grateful for the opportunity to sow the seeds, must trust in God's wisdom.

God often works through the small, the weak and the forgotten. Often, it is the smallest of deeds that, with the prompting of God, will grow into the mightiest of trees. Think of St. Therese of Calcutta at her beginnings, one small woman among the poorest of the poor, simply ministering to one person at a time. And so many others, who only by the grace of God, changed the world. It is not for us to know the good that we do.

  • Click HERE to read and reflect on the full scripture readings for Sunday, June 17

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