Discussion Questions

First Reading
Ezekiel 17:22-24

F1. What are the similarities between the “tender shoot” in this parable and the mustard seed in the Gospel? In each case “Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it, every winged thing in the shade of its boughs.” What do you think of when you read this?

F2. The tender shoot becomes a majestic cedar. In the Gospels, Jesus referred to the “least” becoming the “greatest” numerous times. How is Jesus’ own life an example of this? Can you think of others who followed or now follow this example?

Second Reading
2 Corinthians 5:6-10

S1. “Walk by faith, and not by sight.” What does that mean to you? Why would we need the courage Paul mentions twice in this reading, in order to walk by faith? Were the men who were beheaded by Isis, Oscar Romero, Rutilio Grande, SJ, and Dorothy Day walking by faith or sight?

S2. Do you have confidence all the time, even when the spiritual weather patterns in your life are not? Paul said, “We are always courageous.” Is that true? Are you? Always? What helps when you are not?

Mark 4:26-34

G1. What is the farmer’s job in both these parables? What is God’s job? Could you ask yourself the same two questions about your ministry, … your job and God’s job? Can you trust God to do God’s job?

G2. According to Pope Francis, who is it that is in charge of the growth of the Kingdom of God? Does the growth require something from us? What happens to our (small, mustard-seed size) gifts when we use them in collaboration with God for the kingdom?

When we live like this, (pure of heart, simply and humbly) the strength of Christ bursts through us and transforms what is small and modest into a reality that leavens the entire mass of the world and of history.
An important lesson comes to us from these two parables: God’s Kingdom requires our cooperation, but it is above all the initiative and gift of the Lord. Our weak effort, seemingly small before the complexity of the problems of the world, when integrated with God’s effort, fears no difficulty. The victory of the Lord is certain: his love will make every seed of goodness present on the ground sprout and grow.

Pope Francis, Angelus, St. Peter’s Square
Sunday, June 14, 2015
Paragraph 5 and 6

Anne Osdieck

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson