A shepherd’s staff has a crook for drawing the sheep away from danger, and a blunt end for prodding them toward places they would rather not go. This week’s texts embrace the tension between the two in the shepherd’s role.
Season after Pentecost | 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
1 Samuel 15:34 - 16:13; Psalm 20; (Ezekiel 17:22-24; Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15;) 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17; Mark 4:26-34
On first reading, the two parables in today's Gospel text seem to make less and less sense. In the first, a sower seems to leave the seed to fend for itself. In the second, a tiny mustard seed becomes a bush large enough for its branches to provide shelter for birds. (In Matthew's telling, it's a full-size tree!) When we stop to think about it, both parables are preposterous.
If we read the story of the storm at sea with the earlier parables in mind, we begin to see connections. It too is a parable of reversal.
The first Sunday's Coming email will feature a new piece by Justo González, along with past Century work by Nadia Bolz-Weber, John Buchanan, Brian Blount, and Lillian Daniel.
I have come to realize how mysterious a thing a seed is. Within that kernel, there is the memory of centuries of death and rebirth, and a promise of future plants for as long as the earth will last.