|Jesus the Liberating King|
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
Increase and multiply upon us your mercy;
that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal,
that we lose not the things eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary:
First Reading and Psalm: Genesis 29:15-28; Psalm 105:1-11 or Psalm 128
Alternate Reading and Psalm: 1 Kings 3:5-12; Psalm 119:129-136
Second Reading: Romans 8:26-39
Gospel: Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
Jesus put before the crowds another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."
He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened."
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it."
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
"Have you understood all this?" They answered, "Yes." And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."Lectionary Reflections for the Season after Pentecost:
Jesus Creed: The Church's Wisdom on Prayer (more from Scot McKnight on the collects of the church).
Allan R. Bevere: Extraordinary Kingdom, Ordinary Stories: A Lectionary Reflection on Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52.
Ekklesia Project: The Greatest of all Shrubs.
The Brazos Blog: Stanley Hauerwas on Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52.
Jesus’s great sermon on the parables can be read as a commentary on his claim that those who do the will of the Father are his brother, sister, and mother. You do not become a brother or sister to Christ through birth, but you become his brother and sister by learning to be his disciple.
As we shall see, the parables become one of the ways in which Jesus trains his disciples to constitute this new family. In particular, he uses parables to help the disciples discern how the kingdom of heaven is established.
The parables, therefore, like the Sermon on the Mount, have always been crucial for the church to imagine the kind of community that we must be in order to survive in a world that assumes that biological kinship is more determinative than our kinship with Christ.