Gospel of Mark 4
Jesus again began to teach by the sea; and, as an immense crowd was gathering round him, he got into a boat, and sat in it on the sea, while all the people were on the shore at the water’s edge. 2 Then he taught them many truths in parables; and in the course of his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! The sower went out to sow; 4 And while sowing, some of the seed fell along the path; and the birds came, and ate it up.
5 Some fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and, having no depth of soil, sprang up at once; 6 But, when the sun rose, it was scorched, and, having no root, withered away. 7 Some of the seed fell among brambles; but the brambles shot up and completely choked it, and it yielded no return. 8 Some fell into good soil, and, shooting up and growing, yielded a return, amounting to thirty, sixty, and even a hundred fold.” 9 And Jesus said: “Let anyone who has ears to hear with hear.”
10 Afterwards, when he was alone, his followers and the twelve asked him about his parables; 11 And he said: “To you the hidden truth of the kingdom of God has been imparted; but to those on the outside, teaching takes the form of parables, 12 That ‘though they have eyes, they may see without perceiving; and though they have ears, they may hear without understanding; lest some day they should turn and be forgiven.’” 13 He then went on to ask them: “Do you not know the meaning of this parable? Then how will you understand all the other parables? 14 The sower sows the message.”
15 “The people meant by the seed that falls along the path are those where the message is sown, but, as soon as they have heard it, Satan immediately comes and carries away the message that has been sown in them. 16 So, too, those meant by the seed sown on the rocky places are the people who, when they have heard the message, at once accept it joyfully; 17 But, as they have no root, they stand only for a short time; and so, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the message, they fall away at once.”
18 “Those meant by the seed sown among the brambles are different; they are the people who hear the message, 19 But the cares of life, and the glamour of wealth, and cravings for many other things come in and completely choke the message, so that it gives no return. 20 But the people meant by the seed sown on the good ground are those who hear the message, and welcome it, and yield a return, thirty, sixty, and even a hundred fold.”
Learn the Gospels through the Lord’s Prayer.
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Gospel of Mark 7
One day the Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus. 2 They had noticed that some of his disciples ate their food with their hands ‘defiled,’ by which they meant unwashed. 3 For the Pharisees, and indeed all strict Jews, will not eat without first scrupulously washing their hands, holding in this to the traditions of their ancestors. 4 When they come from market, they will not eat without first sprinkling themselves; and there are many other customs which they have inherited and hold to, such as the ceremonial washing of cups, and jugs, and copper pans.
5 So the Pharisees and the teachers of the law asked Jesus this question: “How is it that your disciples do not follow the traditions of our ancestors, but eat their food with defiled hands?” 6 His answer was: “It was well said by Isaiah when he prophesied about you hypocrites in the words: ‘This is a people that honor me with their lips, While their hearts are far removed from me; 7 But vainly do they worship me, For they teach but the precepts of men.’
8 You neglect God’s commandments and hold to the traditions of men. 9 Wisely do you set aside God’s commandments,” he exclaimed, “to keep your own traditions! 10 For while Moses said ‘Honor thy father and thy mother,’ and ‘Let him who reviles his father or mother suffer death,’ 11 You say: ‘If a man says to his father or mother: “Whatever of mine might have been of service to you is Korban”‘ (which means ‘Given to God’), 12 Why, then you do not allow him to do anything further for his father or mother! 13 In this way you nullify the words of God by your traditions, which you hand down; and you do many similar things.”
14 Then Jesus called the people to him again, and said: “Listen to me, all of you, and mark my words. There is nothing external to you, which by going into you that can ‘defile’ you; but the things that come out from you are the things that defile you. 16 Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.” 17 When Jesus went indoors, away from the crowd, his disciples began questioning him about this saying.
18 “What, do even you understand so little!” exclaimed Jesus. “Do not you see that there is nothing external to a man, which by going into a man, can ‘defile’ him, 19 Because it does not pass into his heart, but into his stomach, and is afterwards got rid of?—in saying this Jesus pronounced all food ‘clean.’ 20 “It is what comes out from a man,” he added, “that defiles him, 21 For it is from within, out of the hearts of men, that there come evil thoughts: unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, 22 Greed, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, haughtiness, folly; 23 All these wicked things come from within, and do defile a man.”
The meaning of the Jesus Prayer may surprise you.
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