Resources - 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year A: Matt
10:26-33 - Do not be afraid, I am with you - 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
is certainly one of the central elements of today's Gospel and it is worth remembering
that Matthew was writing for a Jewish community who had been ejected from the
synagogue. Their whole frame of reference for understanding and practicing their
faith had been removed and they were very fearful of persecution. So it was easier
to speak of the teachings of Jesus "in the dark."
proclaim Jesus as Messiah and to state publicly the teachings of the Reign of
God was to invite persecution and possibly death.As Australians we are so blessed
to live in an open tolerant society where freedom of religion is the norm. Most
of us have not experienced persecution or faced the threat of death for our beliefs,
so perhaps we are less likely to relate to the fear conveyed in this gospel. However,
just as Christians in the First Century faced evil, we too are confronted by many
facets of evil. The evil of abortion and the readiness to discard or experiment
on human embryos is so common place today that it barely rates comment in the
media. Such blatant disregard for human life is an evil each of us should speak
Sexism and racism are also evils that are
frequently disguised by humour and so our response to these jokes should not support
the evil that strips a person of their dignity simply because of their gender
or their race. These evils have been recognised by our governments who have legislated
to protect all people yet many remain vulnerable today.
cannot simply attend mass and then talk and live our faith "behind closed
doors." The values and teachings of Jesus Christ should be proclaimed through
every action we make in the secular world, Jesus asks us to be his witnesses and
to live our faith in the public domain. This does not mean that we force our religion
down the throats of those we work with or those we deal with in the neighbourhood.
The way we live our life speaks for itself.
If we destroy
people because we are living in fear and one way of controlling our lives is to
destroy reputations or people's character, then Jesus warns that we will be disowned
by God. If we cheat the government or authorities of their taxes or rules then
again we risk damnation. We are called to live lives of love and Christian charity
because we are so precious to God who knows every hair on our head, every comment
we make, every witness we bear, everything
Year C: Lk 9:18-24 - 12th Sunday in Ordinary
"Who do people say I am? Who do you say I am?"
We may not have a brown eyed Jewish man staring intently at us as these questions
are asked, but Jesus is asking us these exact questions. These are very serious
questions for Australians to answer. Australia has been described as a very secular
society, so who do people who live in a secular society say Jesus is? We might
put one answer on an ABS census form, but how do we live the life of a person
who ticked the box marked 'Catholic?' Peter's response was that Jesus was "the
Christ of God." This term refers to the one who saves people from the forces
of evil and yet Jesus then goes on to explain that he is one who will be killed
by the forces of evil. Jesus gives himself another name - The Son of Man, the
one who forgives sins, changes Sabbath regulations and speaks of the Reign of
God and again, this is the one who will suffer, be rejected and be raised up.
It is alright for us as post-resurrection people to contemplate this theology,
but how on earth did the disciples grapple with this revelation as they lived
Jesus explains that we are to renounce ourselves
(our selfish selves) and take up our cross every day and follow Jesus. Jesus is
speaking about a mindset that is similar to his, a mindset that is focused on
the Reign of God. We are to acknowledge the pain and suffering of the world, take
up this cross, and work to bring about God's Reign. That is why Christians must
be involved with those who are suffering, those who are forced to the margins,
those who are considered less acceptable in our society. These are the very people
Jesus sought out to be with, to heal and to teach about God's love. Jesus explained
he had come to set the captives free - who are those around us who are captive?
Captive to consumerism, to materialism, to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, to the opinions
of others. Captive to a social system that keeps people poor, or a culture that
oppresses women or refugees and limits the lifespan of indigenous people? "Who
do you say I am?"
then go, everyday, and change your part of the world
to reflect God's Reign.
Ministry Resources 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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