Mark 4:31-32  Mustard Seed

Mark 4:26-29  Mystery of the Seed

Luke 13:20-21  Yeast

Matt 13:44  Treasure in the field

Matt 13:45-46  Pearl of great value

Luke 15:11-32  Prodigal Son

Matt 20:1-5  Labourers in the vineyard

Luke 18: 10-14  Pharisee and the Publican

Luke 10:30-36  The Good Samaritan

Luke 15:4-6  The lost sheep

Luke 15:8-9  Lost coin

Luke 7:41-42  Creditor/Debtor

Matt 18:23-34  Merciless Servant

The Parables of the Seed, the Yeast and the Treasure
(A procession of plants in different stages of growth accompanies the opening song)

Song  Ag Críost an Síol (Seán Ó Riada)
All sing: Ag Críost an síol, ag Críost an fómhar,
In iothlainn Dé go dtugtar sinn.
Ag Críost an mhuir, ag Críost an t-iasc,
I líonta Dé go gcastar sinn
Ó fhás go haois, is ó aois go bás,
Do dhá láimh, a Chríost, anall tharainn.
Ó bhás go críoch, ní críoch ach athfhás,
I bParthas na nGrást go rabhaimid.

We begin our journey of reflection on some of the 42 parables recorded in the Gospels by considering the power of the seed of faith and the yeast of goodness. Jesus takes note of everyone and everything. No thing or no one is too small for his attention. Jesus related his stories to the work of both men and women. Let his gaze of affection stir our hearts as we listen to his poetic words.                                                                  

Mark 4:30-32   The Mustard Seed
What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.

Child – I believe in God who made all the trees in our park
Teenager – I believe in God who loves me even when I an unkind
Young Adult – I believe in God who guides me on my journey
Adult – I believe in God who knows me inside out
Older Person – I believe in God who is like an old friend to me

Song    Increase Our Faith
All sing: Lord, increase our faith,
with all our heart may we always follow you,
Teach us to pray always.

Mark 4:26-29  The Mystery of the Seed
He also said, ‘this is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’

Song    Patience People
All sing: Patience people till the Lord is come
(See the farmer await the yield of the soil.
He watches it in winter and in spring rain).

Luke 13:20-21  Yeast
Another thing he said, ‘What shall I compare the kingdom of God with? It is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’

Prayer   Let us pray,
All say:  God of goodness and life,
May we be blessed by the grace of your love.
May your presence inspire us to work for your kingdom
May your Spirit fills us with courage to spread the Good News of the Gospel.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Matt 13:44    Treasure
‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.’

Song    Where You’re Treasure Is (Marty Haugen)
All sing:  Where you’re treasure is there you heart shall be.
All that you possess will never set you free.
Seek the things that last; come and learn from me.
Where your treasure is your heart shall be.

Question  What do I value most in life?

Matt 13:45-46 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.’
(A treasure chest is brought forward where people can place their value cards)

All sing:  Where you’re treasure is …

Parables of Compassion, Mercy and Justice
(A representation of the Rembrant Prodigal is carried forward into the space)

Luke 15:11-32 Prodigal Son (This story is told as a dialogue)
He also said, ‘A man had two sons. The younger said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.” So the father divided the property between them. A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.

When he had spend it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch, so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs. And he would willingly have filled his belly with the husks the pigs were eating but no one offered him anything. Then he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s paid servants have more food than they want, and here am I dying of hunger. I will leave this place and go to my father and say, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your paid servants”. So he left the place and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly. Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick, bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we are going to have a feast a celebration, because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found” And they began to celebrate.

Song  My Son Has Gone Away (Bob Dufford)
Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about. “Your brother has come” replied the servant “and your father has killed the calf we had fattened because he has got him back safe and sound”. He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out to plead with him; but he answered his father, “Look, all these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed your orders, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But for this son of yours when he comes back after swallowing up your property—he and his women—you kill the calf we had been fattening”. The father said, “My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours, but it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found”.

Question   Which son do I resemble?

Song  Amazing Grace
All sing:    Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Luke 10:30-36  The Good Samaritan
A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands’ they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side but a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him. He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “look after him”, he said, “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have”. Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands’ hands?’

Prayer    Let us pray,
All say:  God of providence and care,
Give me the courage to go out of my comfort zone
Help me to reach out to the stranger in need
Lead me towards those who I often ignore
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Song  Servant Song (Richard Gillard)
All sing: Will you let me be your servant,
let me be as Christ to you,
pray that I may have the grace
to let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
we are travellers on the road,
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

Jesus seeks to bring us back when we stray – when we are lost. Jesus is there when we are surrounded by a fog of worry, wrapped in our selfishness or blind to the goodness around us. Jesus is the good shepherd who walks before us and is there to round us up when wander off the track. No one is left out of his gaze of protection.

Luke 15:4-6   The Lost Sheep
What man among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours. “Rejoice with me” he would say “I have found my sheep that was lost”.

Song   ‘Sé an Tiarna m’Aoire (Fintan O’Carroll)
All sing:   ‘Sé an Tiarna m’aoire, ní bheidh aon ní de dhíth orm

Luke 15:8-9   Lost Coin
Or again what woman with ten drachmas would not, if she lost one, light a lamp and sweep out the house and search thoroughly till she found it? And then, when she had found it, call together half her friends and neighbours? “Rejoice with me” she would say, “I have found the drachma I lost”.

Prayer  Let us pray,
God of mercy and compassion,
Continue to think of us even when we ignore you
Guide our steps back to your path
Forgive our foolish ways.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Song  Give us your Peace (Michael Mahler)
All sing: Jesus, give us your peace,
bring us together let all the fighting cease
shatter all our hearts of stone
give us a heart for love alone.

Matt  20:1-16    Labourers in the Vineyard
Now the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. He made an agreement with the workers for one denarius a day, and sent them to his vineyard. Going out at about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place and said to them, “You go to my vineyard too and I will give you a fair wage”. So they went. At about the sixth hour and again at about the ninth hour, he went out and did the same. Then at about the eleventh hour he went out and found more men standing round and he said to them, “Why have you been standing here idle all day?” “Because no one has hired us” they answered. He said to them, “You go into my vineyard too”. In the evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his bailiff, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last arrivals and ending with the first”. So those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came forward and received one denarius each. When the first came, they expected to get more, but they too received one denarius each. They took it nut grumbled at the landowner. “The men who came last” they said “have done only one hour, and you treated them the same as us, though we had done a heavy day’s work in the heat.” He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?”

Prayer   Let us pray,
God of kindness and generosity,
Teach me to imitate Jesus:
As I respond to the plight of others
As I give without judgement
As I choose need over merit.
We ask this in His name. Amen.

Song  Christ In Me Arise (Trevor Thompson)
All sing:   Christ in me arise and dispel all the darkness
Christ in me arise with your power and your strength
Christ in me pour out your blessing and healing
Christ in me arise and I shall rise in you.