First Reading | Ezekiel 17:22-24

God is our life’s basis and inspiration. He gives us life and we continue to exist because of His loving mercy. John’s Gospel tells us that without God, we can do nothing (John 15:5). In today’s reading, Ezekiel told the people to rely on God for their lives and prosperity. He reminded them to be grateful in good and bad times—grateful for the gift of life. Sin is our only real enemy, never God, as He is always on our side.

22 Thus says the Lord God:I, too, will take from the crest of the cedar, from its topmost branches tear off a tender shoot, and plant it on a high and lofty mountain; 23 on the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it. It shall put forth branches and bear fruit, and become a majestic cedar. Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it, every winged thing in the shade of its boughs. 24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom. As I, the Lord, have spoken, so will I do.

Responsorial Psalm | Psalm 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16

R: Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

2 It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praise to your name, Most High, 3 to proclaim your kindness at dawn and your faithfulness throughout the night. (R) 13 The just one shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow. 14 They that are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. (R15 They shall bear fruit even in old age; vigorous and sturdy shall they be, 16 declaring how just is the Lord, my Rock, in whom there is no wrong. (R)

Second Reading | 2 Corinthians 5:6-10

There is no absolute proof of God’s existence. We walk by faith, not by sight, says Paul. Our faith is the basis of our relationship with God. Without faith, we are on our own. While it seems we can do whatever we want, this question arises: Is what we want really the best thing for us? For those who trust in God, His will is the source of fulfillment and happiness. Without Him, there is no true fulfillment in life.

6 Brothers and sisters: We are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord. 9 Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

Gospel | Mark 4:26-34

Only God can make our faith grow and develop. Our growth in holiness and the building of the Kingdom is His work and responsibility. No matter how hard we try, we cannot make ourselves holy; only He can. We cannot change our sinful state; only His mercy can. Let us surrender to Him and find our true selves and our life’s fulfillment.

Gospel Acclamation

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower. All who come to him will live forever.

26 Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land 27 and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. 28 Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” 30 He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. 32 But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” 33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. 34 Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.