Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 17: 22-24
II Corinthians 5:6-10
Mark 4: 26-34
Our readings I believe are perfect for us as they speak about the kingdom of God in our lives. I will admit, every time I hear “The Kingdom of God” I ask what does that mean? My understanding is it is being aware of the presence of God in our lives and where God is moving us too, even if we may be nervous about what God is asking us. I say these readings are “perfect” because it is what “I” in particular need to know this day.
St. Paul helps us understand the kingdom of God by saying, “We walk by faith, not sight.” How true this is! The primary purpose of sacred scripture is to teach us how to see, in faith. Sacred Scripture is always leading us to a deeper understanding of what we do not understand.
In our reading, Ezekiel speaks about the kingdom of God as this gigantic and magnificent Lebanon cedar. This cedar was thought of as the grandest of all trees. God plants this twig on a high mountain for all to see and all the birds of the air come and rest in its branches. I have seen the kingdom of God here at St. Patrick’s in this way as all the projects we were able to do by your generosity. A new roof, redoing the whole interior of the church, a new steeple, and now a complete redo of the exterior.
In our Gospel, Jesus goes the complete opposite direction in describing the kingdom of God then Ezekiel. Jesus describes the kingdom of God as a tiny mustard seed that eventually grows into an underwhelming shrub. Seldom do these shrubs grow taller than seven feet, they are not attractive, and they are seen as weeds. The branches are thin so most birds are not able to perch on its branches. Mustard plants are an ordinary plant that is very hardy and grow in all kinds of soils. We need to be like that mustard plant to grow where we are planted. I see the kingdom of God as a mustard shrub here at St. Patrick’s in all the wonderful small ways God reveals himself in the sacraments, around dinner tables, in this beautiful church, in people being welcoming and hospitable. In people meeting every challenge because they believe and never want people to forget the rich traditions that have been done here at St. Patrick’s.
The point our readings are bringing to us is that the kingdom of God is being revealed to us in big and in small ways. Are we able to see the kingdom of God unfolding in our midst? The other message is to know that the kingdom of God dwells within us. May we know the kingdom of God is unfolding in our midst right now.