PROPER 6 (11) – Year B

4th Sunday after Pentecost — June 16, 2024

Gospel Lectionary Text

Mark 4:26-34

4:26 He also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,

4:27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.

4:28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.

4:29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come."

4:30 He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?

4:31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth;

4:32 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."

4:33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;

4:34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.


Welcome to the fourth Sunday after Pentecost, where Jesus shares two parables that lift up the twin graces of the Kingdom of God — untamable fecundity and unwanted disruption.

In the first parable, Jesus reminds us of an elemental truth about the reality of God — life relentlessly comes into being, even while we sleep. Just as creation is programmed with a wild fecundity, so too does the Kingdom bring forth life in abundance. That is why, in the gospels, Jesus never calls us to build the Kingdom. It already exists. Our job is to see it, receive it, and celebrate its goodness. In a word, our job is to give thanks.

The second parable reveals the scandalous grace of the Kingdom, which subverts the rigid moral frameworks we construct in God’s name to differentiate “us” from “them.” The mustard tree is regarded as a weed by farmers, who diligently work to remove it. But Jesus reveals that these unwanted weeds that disrupt our well manicured lives are at the center of God’s kingdom! That which we are so eager to eliminate and judge holds the key to our salvation… always!


In which areas of your life and your community do you welcome God's abundance and disruption and in which are they scandalous?


Come, Holy Spirit, wild and free. Do as you please. Shine your light on me that I might see things as they are, not as I am. Free me to act in your name with courage, creativity, and compassion. See the complete prayer

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