Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 JER 13:1-11
The LORD said to me: Go buy yourself a linen loincloth;
wear it on your loins, but do not put it in water.
I bought the loincloth, as the LORD commanded, and put it on.
A second time the word of the LORD came to me thus:
Take the loincloth which you bought and are wearing,
and go now to the Parath;
there hide it in a cleft of the rock.
Obedient to the LORD’s command, I went to the Parath
and buried the loincloth.
After a long interval, the LORD said to me: 
Go now to the Parath and fetch the loincloth
which I told you to hide there.
Again I went to the Parath, sought out and took the loincloth
from the place where I had hid it.
But it was rotted, good for nothing!
Then the message came to me from the LORD: 
Thus says the LORD:
So also I will allow the pride of Judah to rot,
the great pride of Jerusalem.
This wicked people who refuse to obey my words,
who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts,
and follow strange gods to serve and adore them,
shall be like this loincloth which is good for nothing.
For, as close as the loincloth clings to a man’s loins,
so had I made the whole house of Israel
and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the LORD;
to be my people, my renown, my praise, my beauty.
But they did not listen.


Gospel MT 13:31-35
Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’”
He spoke to them another parable.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened.”
All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:
I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation
of the world.

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. 
Take the Gospel to prayer:

So it has been a week since we heard this Gospel...I guess we have more to reflect upon.
The mustard seed bush (not tree) grows to its fullness not for its own fulfillment. Rather, it provides shelter for the birds. The leaven loses its very nature as leaven so that with the flour, a new bread can be formed. The parable is not simply a story unto itself. It delivers a message more significant than the plot.

We are each uniquely created. Yet, from the beginning, we were not meant to live isolated. Each of us brings our gifts to the world. Our faith calls us to use all that we have and all that we are to be of service to one another.

In this pandemic time, we have faced isolation in a manner that rarely happens. Good can come from all this if we learn how to better appreciate one another. More than "absence makes the heart grow fonder", perhaps this is the time when we can really learn to not to take things for granted. We need to see our contribution to the bigger picture and continue, even in our distancing, to be an active messenger of hope.