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11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

The Parables of the Growing Seed and the Mustard Seed 

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The 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time continues our journey through the Gospel of Mark for Year B. And this Sunday the church moves us into chapter 4 of Mark's gospel with a specific focus on what scholars sometimes refer to as the parables discourse of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. One of the unique things about Mark's gospel is, in contrast to say Matthew or Luke where you have lots of long speeches of Jesus, especially in Matthew like the Sermon on the Mount, three chapters of extensive teachings, Mark's gospel is more characterized by actions of Jesus and short speeches and there are really only two lengthy discourses in the Gospel of Mark. The first one is in Mark 4, the discourse on parables, and then the second one is in Mark 13, that’s Jesus’ discourse on the Mount of Olives, where he talks about the future and the end of the age and that kind of thing. Those are kind of like bookends to Jesus’ public ministry in Mark's gospel. So this is a significant chapter. It's one of those chapters that’s more focused on the words of Jesus than other parts of Mark's gospel, and in this chapter Jesus teaches in his characteristic mode of using parables. So the Sunday gospel for today focuses on two key parables of Jesus. First is the parable of what’s commonly called the Seed Growing Secretly — but I'm just going to refer to it as the Parable of the Growing Seed — and then the second one is Jesus' most famous parable of all, the Parable of the Mustard Seed. So let's look at those two parables together and then we’ll try to explain them and put them in context. So Mark 4:26-34, it reads as follows...


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