06.17.18 – 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Welcome Back to Banquet of the Word!

Join us every week for background on this Sunday readings.

Our mission is simple:
We want to help everyone in “pew-land” get more out of mass.

 

Ezekiel 17: 22-24
(The 1st Reading is Old Testament. It always links to the Gospel.)

Today we hear from the prophet Ezekiel, one of the 4 major prophets (the others being Daniel, Jeremiah and Isaiah). We see him plant a prophetic seed (pun intended) about what the Kingdom of God will be like one day. He says he will tear off a tender “shoot” from the crest of the cedar and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. There it will bear tremendous fruit and become majestic.

Today we see early hints at the “stump of Jesse” story (which we hear around Christmastime). God takes the son of Jesse, King David, and from his line, Jesus comes. Jesus is in the line of King David. David is the “shoot” from which Christ comes. Christ establishes the majestic cedar, the Majestic Kingdom.

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.

Psalm 92: Lord it is good to give thanks to you.
(The Psalm is a “response” to what we heard in the 1st Reading)

Listen to the tree language in verses 2 and 3:

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.

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.

2 Corinthians 5: 6-10
(The 2nd reading is usually from Paul’s letters.
 Speaks to how the early church was built after Christ’s death and resurrection).

In today’s reading from St. Paul, we are encouraged to take courage. To live upright lives while on Earth (while we are away from the Lord), and prepare for the Kingdom we will inherit if we live as His follower. Today we are reminded how important it is to wake up each day and let Him guide us!

“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.”

Mark 4: 26-34
(The Gospel is the highest point of the Liturgy of the Word. That’s why we stand.
We are about to hear from and be instructed by Christ Himself.)

Image result for mustard seed images

Finally today, Jesus reveals something to the disciples he’s been hinting at for a while. He’s been hinting at what Heaven would be like. And can you imagine their surprise to find out it is like…a mustard seed? Jesus continues his mission as he conceals and reveals. He conceals the fullness of his reason for coming to live among them (that he would suffered, die and rise); yet he begins to reveal some of the mysteries of God’s plan (albeit in a confusing way).

Is God confusing you right now? Has He revealed some things and concealed others, leaving you in the dark about something? If He is, take heart. Although you cannot see the whole picture or the whole plan, He can and He knows it. We are called to trust Him, no matter how hard that call is for us to hear.

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Author: Cindy Skalicky

Background: While enrolled in coursework at the Denver Catholic Biblical School (CBS), I developed a passion for scripture. Prior to CBS, I knew so little about the bible. I was in a complete "fog", unable to see what I heard at mass or make any connections (even though I have been a lector for 20 years). The climax of every Mass is the banquet of the Eucharist. But before that, we attend the banquet of the Word - a "4-course meal" that includes the 1st Reading, Responsorial Psalm, 2nd Reading, and Gospel. At this "Banquet of the Word", we encounter Christ through His Word before we meet Him at the Eucharistic table. Increasing my knowledge of scripture has brought me out of the fog and into the light. I invite you to visit weekly. If you have limited scriptural knowledge, Be Not Afraid. Scripture is God's voice; in It, He speaks to you personally. Believe me, I know from experience how intimidating the Bible can be - in its length, the numerous styles in which it's written, and the messages therein. This is why I find it works well to explore scripture through the Sunday readings, which cover Old Testament, Wisdom Literature, the Pastoral Letters, and the Gospels. Join me on this journey, one week at a time.

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