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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Friday 3rd in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (2Sam 11:1-4a.5-10a.13-17): At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign, David sent out Joab along with his officers and the army of Israel, and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. David, however, remained in Jerusalem. One evening David rose from his siesta and strolled about on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful. David had inquiries made about the woman and was told, «She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam, and wife of Joab’s armor bearer Uriah the Hittite». Then David sent messengers and took her. When she came to him, he had relations with her. She then returned to her house. But the woman had conceived, and sent the information to David, «I am with child».

David therefore sent a message to Joab, «Send me Uriah the Hittite». So Joab sent Uriah to David. When he came, David questioned him about Joab, the soldiers, and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well. David then said to Uriah, «Go down to your house and bathe your feet». Uriah left the palace, and a portion was sent out after him from the king’s table. But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down to his own house. David was told that Uriah had not gone home. On the day following, David summoned him, and he ate and drank with David, who made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his bed among his lord’s servants, and did not go down to his home.

The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab which he sent by Uriah. In it he directed: «Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce. Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead». So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew the defenders were strong. When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab, some officers of David’s army fell, and among them Uriah the Hittite died.
Responsorial Psalm: 50
R/. Be merciful, o Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, o God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.

For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always: «Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight».

I have done such evil in your sight that you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn. True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.

Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness; the bones you have crushed shall rejoice. Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my guilt.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Mt 11:15): Alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 4,26-34): Jesus said, «In the kingdom of God it is like this. A man scatters seed upon the soil. Whether he is asleep or awake, be it day or night, the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how. The soil produces of itself; first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when it is ripe for harvesting they take the sickle for the cutting: the time for harvest has come».

Jesus also said, «What is the kingdom of God like? To what shall we compare it? It is like a mustard seed which, when sown, is the smallest of all the seeds scattered upon the soil. But once sown, it grows up and becomes the largest of the plants in the garden and even grows branches so big that the birds of the air can take shelter in its shade». Jesus used many such stories or parables, to proclaim the word to them in a way they would be able to understand. He would not teach them without parables; but privately to his disciples he explained everything.

«In the kingdom of God it is like this. A man scatters seed upon the soil and the soil produces of itself»

Fr, Jordi PASCUAL i Bancells (Salt, Girona, Spain)

Today, Jesus is telling people about an experience very close to his life: «A man scatters seed upon the soil (…), the seed sprouts and grows (…). The soil produces of itself; first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear» (Mk 4:26-28). With these words Jesus is speaking of the kingdom of God, consisting «of sanctity and grace, Truth and Life, justice, love and peace» (Preface of the Solemnity of our Lord Christ the King), that He is bringing us. We must make this kingdom real. First, within each one of us; afterwards, for all our world.

In every Christian's, soul Jesus Christ has sown —by virtue of the Baptism— the grace, the sanctity, the Truth... It is necessary that these seeds sprout, grow and bear a multitude of good fruits, our deeds: deeds of service and charity, of kindness and generosity, of sacrifice to properly comply with our daily duty and to make happy those around us; deeds of constant prayer, of forgiveness and understanding, of effort to grow in virtue, of joy...

Thus, this Kingdom of God —that begins within each one of us— will extend to our family, to our people, to our society, to our world. Because, he who lives like that, «what does he do but preparing the path of God (...), so that the strength of grace fills him and the light of truth lights him up; so that his ways to God are always straight?» (Saint Gregory the Great).

The seed begins very small, «It is like a mustard seed which, when sown, is the smallest of all the seeds scattered upon the soil. But once sown, it grows up and becomes the largest of the plants in the garden» (Mk 4:31-32). But the force of God's will scatters it all over and makes it grow up with a surprising vigor. Jesus asks us today —as in the beginning of Christianity— to spread his kingdom throughout all the world.

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