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Youth Ministry Resources - 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday is the start of NAIDOC Week in Australia, see also the resource section on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council's site for resources relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday.

Year A: Matt 11:25-30 - My yoke is easy, my burden light - 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

There is so much to reflect on in today's reading and from the very first phrases we are aware that Jesus is revealing the intimacy of his relationship with God as Father. This concept is so familiar to us because it is embedded in our Eucharist each week, firstly through the Liturgy of the Word and of course through the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Every time we bless ourselves the close relationship of our Triune God is revealed and affirmed.

Jesus states quite emphatically that the one he calls Father (Gk pater) a relationship we all understand as one of the most intimate in life, is also "Lord of heaven and of earth" a more distant and powerful way of understanding God. This relationship entitles Jesus to the love of the Father and unique access to knowledge of all things. So that means that Jesus is the exclusive revelation of the Father so if we want to know what God is like we only need to look at Jesus, at this teachings at the way Jesus treated people.

Matthew is writing for his Jewish community who have been heavily influenced by the Torah and the manipulation of God's Word by the Pharisees and Scribes who made the implementation of God's Word a burden. Jesus simplified the Law to "love God and love your neighbour." Jesus says "come to me" and here Jesus speaks as Wisdom (Gk sophia) personified (Prov 8) with feminine characteristics, as the giver of rest and comfort and extending the great invitation to all those who labour.

Jesus invites us to learn from him, not the learning that is accrued through degrees and theses but to learn how to love God and love our neighbour, to be like infants who accept God's teaching and accept others with love. A disciple is meant to be a life long learner so our education is never complete. What we receive from God is pure gift, it is grace and cannot be earned because God is "gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Jesus invites his hearers to take on his yoke, to accept the responsibilities that he will lay on them. If they do so, they too will be blessed with the revelation of God. So again God places the choice before us, we can be emphatic about different rules and interpretations and allow these man made rules to weigh us down or we can be open to the action of God in our lives. We can be open learners through our experience of love of God and of our neighbour which are inexhaustible opportunities to grow in intimacy and love with God. It is called free will and it is another gift from God.

Cate Mapstone

Year C: Lk 10:1-12. 17-20 - 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus is teaching his disciples about the nature of the Christian mission. Jesus makes it quite clear that there will be times of joy along with times of rejection and sorrow. This reflects the experience of Jesus. Just as Jesus met with hostility and rejection, his followers may experience the same fate but what is essential is that the Word of God will triumph.

Jesus sends his disciples on mission, two by two. Firstly, they provide mutual support - if you are going on mission you need support because of the demands placed upon you. Secondly, they are bearing witness to the truth of their testimony - when witness is required it is always stronger when it is corroborated by another person. Finally, they are the embodiment of the gospel of peace - because they are working together in harmony. So the importance of 'journey with another' is at the forefront of this model. The disciples speak enthusiastically about their experience of preaching and healing because they are working towards the fulfilment of the Reign of God and both preaching and healing are important aspects of God's Kingdom. Today the terms 'reign' and 'kingdom' have unfortunate connotations of domination because it is frequently used in relation to terrorism or despots and also regarding outmoded monarchies.

The Scriptures use the word Basileia and the Greek word has much richer implications because it means God's way of thinking becomes the norm, God's peace is at the centre of a way of life. God's healing is available. God's Word is welcomed. God's people invigorate the Body of Christ. This is what the Reign of God offers to us today. You and I are on mission and we are on a journey together. You and I are asked to bring about this Reign of God in today's world. We pray for this every time we say the Our Father - "your kingdom come, your will be done." Along with our prayer must be action to share this vision with others. We may not be 'preaching' but maybe we are doing what St Francis asked when he sent his friars out in pairs and told them to "preach the Gospel, using words only when necessary." We are also meant to bring healing to those around us - even a smile or a listening ear, are enough to heal some people.

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Youth Ministry Resources 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time