Reading 1 ez 17;22-24

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 92:2-3,13-16

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.

Reading 2 2 cor 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,
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.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower.
All who come to him will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel mk 4:26-34

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.


It’s a little difficult to put ourselves into the scene of today’s Gospel. Jesus as attending a dinner at the house of a certain Simon who was a Pharisee. It was obviously a major feast, guests reclining on couches around a group of tables, folks wandering in from the roads to watch what was going on – a gathering of celebrity watchers. Many wanted to get a quick look at the legendary rabbi from Nazareth. They were shocked to see a woman washing his feet with her tears, drying them with her hair, and bathing his feet with oil. While such things were done sometimes for distinguished celebrities, they were not done in the houses of rich Pharisees. Why did Jesus put up with such adoration? It is remarkable that the incident was remembered as vividly as it was because Jesus’ followers were certainly embarrassed by it as some of them would be even today. Why didn’t he just chase them away?
Once upon a time a certain well known priest was seen coming out of a disorderly house in his parish. A photographer got a picture of him. A newspaper printed it. A group of Catholic laity put together a petition to the bishop to remove him as pastor. No priest should be seen emerging from such a place. The priest was summoned downtown. The bishop, the chancellor and the vicar general sat behind the bishop’s desk, staring at him implacably. They didn’t much like him because he was a bit of a trouble maker. They were delighted to have something with which to slap him down. They didn’t ask him to sit down. You’ve seen this picture, Father. Once or twice. What is that building from which you are exiting. It is a house of ill repute, he replied with a smile. What were you doing there? Visiting some of my parishioners. At 11:00 at night? That’s when they called me. And you felt obliged to visit them at that hour? At any hour of night someone in the parish calls, I respond. You were giving spiritual solace to those unfortunate women? No bishop. What were you doing? Administering the last sacraments of the Church. I said the funeral mass for her the next day and went to the graveside. Any objection. There wasn’t any. Well said the youngest of the troika, we must be careful of giving bad example. And Jesus said once that those who have been forgiven much love much. They didn’t say anything at all after that.