First Reading (NRSV) Ezekiel 17:22-end
Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of a
cedar; I will set it out. I will break off a tender one from the topmost of its
young twigs; I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the
mountain height of Israel I will plant it, in order that it may produce boughs
and bear fruit, and become a noble cedar. Under it every kind of bird will live;
in the shade of its branches will nest winged creatures of every kind. All the
trees of the field shall know that I am the LORD. I bring low the high tree, I
make high the low tree; I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.
I the LORD have spoken; I will accomplish it.
This is the word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.
Second Reading (NRSV) 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, 14-17
Brothers and sisters, we are always confident; even though we know that
while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— for we walk
by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be
away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or
away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the
judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has
been done in the body, whether good or evil.
The love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for
all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might
live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even
though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no
longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
This is the word of the Lord. All: Thanks be to God.
Gospel Reading (NRSV) Mark 4:26-34
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark
All: Glory to you, O Lord.
Such a large crowd gathered around Jesus that he got into a boat and began to
teach them using many parables. Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if
someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and
day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth
produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the
head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because
the harvest has come.’
Jesus also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what
parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon
the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it
grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear
it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in
private to his disciples.
This is the Gospel of the Lord. All: Praise to you, O Christ.