This Week’s Gospel Explained Simply:

Reflection:

After Lent, the Easter season, and three Sundays of feast days—Pentecost, Most Holy Trinity, and Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ—the Church returns to Ordinary Time. This Sunday’s Gospel from Mark carries a significant message regarding faith and the Kingdom of God.

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus appears reluctant to reveal his identity as the Son of God. After performing miracles of healing, he warns those cured to tell no one (see Mark 1:44, 3:12, 5:43, 7:36, and 8:26). Also, when preaching, Jesus chooses to speak to the crowds in parables, leaving them to discern his message. Only to his disciples does he explain the parable’s meaning, and he does this in private at a later time.

Today’s Gospel Reading consists of two parables about seeds. In the first, Jesus tells those gathered that this is “how it is with the kingdom of God.” A man scatters seed which over time sprouts and develops. Then when the grain is ripe, the man harvests his crop. The emphasis in the parable is on the seed, which seemingly has the power to grow on its own. In this it is like the Kingdom of God. While on earth, Jesus planted the seeds of the kingdom by his life, miracles, teaching, and suffering. However, the kingdom is not yet fully established. Although already present in Jesus and his group of twelve, it has yet to come to fruition; just as the seed in the parable needs time to grow, so does God’s kingdom.

The second parable focuses on the tiny mustard seed. Though not the smallest of all seeds, it is most likely the smallest that a first-century farmer in Jesus’ part of the world would have sown. Small as the mustard seed is, it develops into a tree. Though the mustard tree generally averages only nine to twelve feet in height, it has a wide expanse and provides a nesting place for birds. Just as the tree welcomes the birds, so is God’s kingdom welcoming and open to many.

These parables help us discern something about the kingdom of God and our own faith. In God we live and move and have our being, but God is a mystery and his kingdom, though present, has not yet come into its fullness. Today, the Kingdom of God is present in the Church. The mission of proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom given to the Apostles is now given to us. But just as seeds need time to come to fruition, so does the Kingdom of God. That is why in the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “thy kingdom come.” We know that it will come in its fullness at the end of time. All we need is faith.

Family Connection

Church documents call the Christian family the “domestic church.” This is both a compliment and a call to commitment. Because the family is a community formed in love and dedicated to the physical and spiritual growth of its members, it is a miniature version of the Kingdom of God on earth. This Sunday’s Gospel Reading, Mark 4:26–34, consists of two parables that Jesus used to help us discern the mystery of the Kingdom of God. The beginning of the kingdom is compared to a tiny seed that over time matures and ripens. Many of the things we do within the family seem insignificant. They are part of our daily activity and attract little attention. Yet they show our love and concern for one another. According to the Gospel, it’s these small things that yield big results, acting as significant contributions to the growth of God’s kingdom on earth. The growth of the seed illustrates the nature and the results of a strong faith.

Read aloud together the Gospel of Mark 4:26–34. Consider how your family’s concerns reflect the Church’s concerns for those members who are poor, forgotten, hungry, ill, shunned, or lonely. Together think of a specific action that you can do to assist a person in your extended family, neighborhood, or parish. Now pray together the Lord’s Prayer, pausing briefly to consider the import of the words “thy kingdom come.” Each evening this week as you gather for supper, share with one another the simple acts of love you witnessed within the family that day.

Text courtesy of Loyola Press

We recommend using the Sunday Connections webpage from Loyola Press throughout the year to help you study and engage the weekly gospels with your children. You can click on this link to Sunday Connections and it will take you to a page with all three Sunday readings with background on the Gospel. Then click on the Family tab at the top for reflections for families and activities to do with kids. You may also want to click on the school grade tabs at the top of the page for ideas of age-appropriate activities and topics of discussion.

Looking for Other Ideas…

June Feast Days

In the month of June we celebrate the feasts of the St. Justin (June 1), St. Charles Lwanga and Companions (June 3), St. Boniface (June 5), St. Norbert (June 6), Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 7), Immaculate Heart of Mary (June 8), St. Barnabas, Apostle (June 11), St. Anthony of Padua (June 13), St. Romuald (June 19), St. Aloysius Gonzaga (June 21), St. Paulinus of Nola, St. John Fisher, and St. Thomas More (June 22), St. John the Baptist (June 24), St. Cyril of Alexandria (June 27), St. Irenaeus (June 28), and Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles (June 29).

Check out Francisanmedia.org & young-catholics.com where you will find a collection of resources to help you learn more about these astounding men and women.

The St. Francis Prayer for Peace

The Prayer of St. Francis is a beautiful prayer of peace and abandonment of our own purpose to God’s will. “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” Check out young-catholics.com.

Kid’s Bulletin:

Below is a bulletin made especially for children. Each week it contains activities like; puzzles, gap-fills, and summaries or explanations related to the Sunday readings. Print out the images below and work with your child to prepare for Sunday’s readings and learn about the saint of the week.

St. Francis of Assisi Peace Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.