11th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

Gospel  (Mark 4: 26-34)

Jesus said to the crowds: ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’

He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’

Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.

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Reflection

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime
only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is a way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No programme accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

© 1979 Ken Untener (Bishop of Saginaw)

Let us pray

For fathers and grandfathers, godfathers and stepfathers, and for those who have been like a father to us.

†That every human life may be protected and cherished from conception to natural death.

†For the victims of human trafficking – that they may be helped to rebuild their lives after the traumatic experiences they have gone through.

†For the people of Lourdes and surrounding regions in France following the floods this week.

†That the courageous meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un may bear fruit, especially for the suffering people of North Korea.

 


10th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

Gospel  (Mark 3: 20-35)

Jesus went home with his disciples, and such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.

The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘Beelzebul is in him’ and, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts devils out.’ So he called them to him and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never stand. Now if Satan has rebelled against himself and is divided, he cannot stand either – it is the end of him. But no one can make his way into a strong man’s house and burgle his property unless he has tied up the strong man first. Only then can he burgle his house.

‘I tell you solemnly, all men’s sins will be forgiven, and all their blasphemies; but let anyone blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and he will never have forgiveness: he is guilty of an eternal sin.’ This was because they were saying, ‘An unclean spirit is in him.’

His mother and brothers now arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.’ He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’

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Reflection  (Fr Jude Botelho)

In today’s gospel passage, we see some of the frustrations Jesus had to contend with. He had to contend with the constant opposition from his enemies and sometimes even misunderstanding from his own family.

News of people’s reactions to him reached Nazareth and, worried about the direction of his life, his relatives set out to rescue him and bring him back home. Many great people were at times believed to be mad by their contemporaries. When they reached the house where he was preaching, they sent him a message: “Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.” On hearing this, Jesus replied. “Who are my mother and my brothers?” “Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.”

When Jesus left Nazareth he ‘lost’ his natural family, but gained another family – the family of his disciples. He was calling people to a spiritual family, built not on bonds of blood and nation. Blood relations are important, but it is not everything. Jesus refused to go back home with his relatives. Though his mission was proving to be frustrating, he refused to quit. He had a mission to accomplish.

Jesus gives us an example of faithfulness in a time of darkness. Jesus was calling people to a new community, into a spiritual family. Belief in Jesus and the practice of God’s will are what create community. With his example to inspire us, and his grace to strengthen us, we too can be faithful to our vocation as his disciples.

Prayer

God of wisdom and love, source of all good,
send your Spirit to teach us your truth
and guide our actions in your way of peace.
Through Christ our Lord.

(Adapted from Opening Prayer (c) 1973 ICEL)


Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ (B)

Gospel  (Mark 14: 12-16, 22-26)

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was sacrificed, his disciples said to Jesus, ‘Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city and you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him, and say to the owner of the house which he enters, “The Master says: Where is my dining room in which I can eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large upper room furnished with couches, all prepared. Make the preparations for us there.’ The disciples set out and went to the city and found everything as he had told them, and prepared the Passover.

And as they were eating he took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. ‘Take it,’ he said ‘this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them, ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.’

After psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives.

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Song  (Panis Angelicus)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK3TeWqSAZk

The bread that angels eat
becomes our food on earth,
God sends his manna, living Bread,
from heaven above;
what wonders now we see:
those who are last and least
receive their Lord as food and drink,
his pledge of love.

Three persons, yet one God,
be pleased to hear our prayer:
come down in power to seek your own,
dispel our night;
teach us your word of truth;
guide us along your way;
bring us at last to dwell with you
in endless light.

St Thomas Aquinas tr. James Quinn SJ

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Intercessions

At the supper to which all are invited, Christ gives his body and blood for the life of the world. Earnestly we beseech him, saying:

R.  Lord Jesus Christ, give us the bread of eternal life.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, you have commanded us to celebrate the eucharistic meal in remembrance of you: — enrich your Church with the worthy celebration of these mysteries.

R.  Lord Jesus Christ, give us the bread of eternal life.

Lord Jesus Christ, eternal high priest, you have committed to your priests the ministration of your sacraments: — help them to do their part in your work with the unfailing gladness of genuine charity.

R.  Lord Jesus Christ, give us the bread of eternal life.

Lord Jesus Christ, manna from heaven, you make into one all who share the one bread: — grant peace and concord to all who believe in you.

R.  Lord Jesus Christ, give us the bread of eternal life.

Lord Jesus Christ, heavenly physician, you give an eternal remedy and a pledge of resurrection to those who eat your bread: — grant health to the ailing and a real hope to sinners.

R.  Lord Jesus Christ, give us the bread of eternal life.

Lord Jesus Christ, king who is to come, we know that whenever we celebrate these mysteries, we proclaim your death until you come again: — bring all those who have died in you to share your resurrection.

R.  Lord Jesus Christ, give us the bread of eternal life.

O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament
have left us a memorial of your Passion,
grant us, we pray,
so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood
that we may always experience in ourselves
the fruits of your redemption.
Who live and reign with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
R.  Amen.