Resources - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
A: Matt 13:1-23 - Parable of the Sower - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
well known and well loved parable resonates with most people because we can all
relate to the idea of God's Word being received more by some people than others.
It is testament to the strength of this parable that it continues to be received
in the 21st Century just as clearly as when it was directed to rural workers sitting
by the lake listening to Jesus in 1st Century Palestine. The experience of the
sower would have been quite commonplace among those listening to Jesus.
is telling this parable to offer encouragement to his disciples who are surprised
when the good news of the Basileia or Kingdom of God is not accepted by more people.
Some of the disciples were feeling discouraged because they felt that Reign of
God movement would lead to commitment from fellow Jews rather than the conflict
they were experiencing at the synagogue.
we can translate the parable into the Third millennium experience of hearing God's
word, we are less concerned with the sower who appears to distribute the seed
rather carelessly because the focus is more on when we are receptive to 'hearing'
God's Word. There are times in our lives when we represent the 'good soil' but
there are also times when we are the less receptive soil.
parable reminds us of the constant generosity of God's love, again and again,
God offers us the opportunity to bear fruit, to live lives that attract other
people to the reality of the Reign of God in our world. Today there is a significant
amount of apathy about Christianity and in some cases there is organised opposition
to the institutional Church and so this parable offers us hope and encouragement
in the difficulties we face.
we see less people coming to mass and a growing indifference across a whole generation
about to the importance of God in their lives. We live in a safe, wealthy country
where the majority of people have more than the basics of life so it is easy to
fall into the busyness of everyday life, feel self sufficient and squeeze God
out. That is why it is so important that those who have heard the Word of God
and understand it bring that experience of love into our neighbourhood, our workplace,
our families, our friends. This is how we can contribute to God's harvest one
C: Luke 10:25-37 - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
story of the Good Samaritan is one we are all familiar with and unfortunately
it is easy to dismiss or not listen as carefully to stories we have heard recounted
so frequently. Firstly, Jesus is telling this story to Jews and as far as Jews
were concerned, there was no such thing as a 'good' Samaritan - they were the
enemy, they had rejected the one true God and developed their own religion and
so they were the worst of human beings. In our day and age,' the worst' would
include drug dealers, war lords, terrorists and evil dictators. Jesus is challenging
the mindset of his listeners and that includes us. In the 1st Century Mediterranean
culture the core social values of honour and shame are central to this story.
The lawyer is trying to shame Jesus by showing how little Jesus understands the
Law. The testing concerns the role of God's law in salvation. Jesus answers (1)
the Law is valid and (2) non-Jews who observe the law inherit eternal life - even
in this story is about mindset or the perspective we bring to making decisions.
The lawyer's mindset starts with who belongs to God's people and is therefore
an object of neighbourly love? Jesus turns this around and asks about the conduct
demanded of a member of God's chosen people. Jesus insists that it does not matter
who needs help, it is the role of a Christian to help regardless of who it is.
This challenge by Jesus to our mindset or attitude, is made to us this day. What
is our attitude to other people? How do we see other people? What goes through
our minds when we encounter a Muslim, an aborigine, a homeless person, an intoxicated
person, a person suffering from mental illness? This list is limitless because
it can describe all those we do not understand or fear - all those we 'pass by
on the other side.'
in this familiar story of helping another human being, Jesus is challenging us
to reflect on our attitudes. How do we approach the stranger, the different one.
Do we seek the face of God in the other? Paul reminds us that "even sinners
love their friends." Jesus emphasises two commandments "love God and
love your neighbour" it is up to us to reflect on our behaviour and on who
we see as our neighbour.
Ministry Resources 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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