Ezekiel’s cedar symbolizes God’s restoration of the Davidic Kingdom, an earthly kingdom, mighty and proud. But earthly kingdoms rise and fall. And the bigger they are the weaker they get, and the harder they fall. Every empire that grows, believing that it can rule the world, eventually topples like a felled tree. The mustard plant doesn’t rise so high that it may topple and fall. It remains lowly, like a King, who enters a city humbly, riding on a donkey; who comes not to be served, but to serve, and who humbles himself to take the form of a servant.

Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 17:22-24—Israel Exalted at Last

22 Thus says the Lord God: I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar; I will set it out. I will break off a tender shoot from the topmost of its young twigs; I myself will transplant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 On the mountain height of Israel I will transplant it, and it will produce boughs and bear fruit and become a noble cedar. Under it every kind of bird will live; in the shade of its branches will nest winged creatures of every kind. 24 All the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord. I bring low the high tree; I make high the low tree; I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I the Lord have spoken; I will accomplish it.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:1-13, 31-32, 34-35—Jesus Teaches with Parables

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on a path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched, and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. If you have ears, hear!” 10 Then the disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance, but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 13 The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’ 31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 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.” 34 Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. 35 This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden since the foundation.”