Resources - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
A: Matt 13:24-43 - The Kingdom of Heaven - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
hear a lot about the Kingdom of Heaven in the Scriptures and at times it can seem
a vague, distant concept that fails to capture our understanding of God's plan
for us and our world. The Greek word Basileia means Reign and in the earliest
times the followers of Jesus were called the Reign of God movement or followers
of The Way, it was not until around 80CE in Antioch that people first called themselves
Christians. Matthew refers to the Kingdom of Heaven to mark the difference to
the kingdoms in the Hebrew Scriptures.
is explaining what the Kingdom of Heaven is like by using three different parables
about everyday experiences so that the crowds can relate to the power of this
heavenly Kingdom. The first parable about the wheat and the darnel provides a
key insight into understanding what the Reign of God is about and it can be summed
up in one word - inclusive. Jesus is teaching that everyone is offered a place
in the Kingdom. "Let both grow together
" this is the crucial part
of the answer, advocating patience and tolerance before the final sorting.
is offering the whole of humanity, the field sown with wheat and weed, the opportunity
to be included into God's Kingdom. There is no sorting out first before the offer
is made, the offer is there for all and the sad reality is that some will reject
this inclusive offer of love. It is a reminder to us not to judge those around
us because what might appear to be 'weed' and hence unworthy, may respond to God's
invitation. It might well be the homeless person we walk past on our way to the
Cathedral, or the refugee incarcerated in remote Australia or the young person
looking for meaning in aerosol paint. It might not be those who 'appear' to be
just or acceptable.
we can become rather zealous about rooting out evil rather than promoting good
or even looking for good before we label the bad. It is not for us to judge but
rather for us to promote the inclusiveness of the Reign of God. Sometimes we can
dismiss something as small and inconsequential but in doing so we can overlook
the mustard seed, or the leaven. God uses everyday items to remind us of how surprising
the Kingdom of Heaven is and how something small can change the world. Each of
us can be seen as leaven because of the power of our Baptism and that power can
be used for good in the world. The power of one being open to God's grace can
change the direction of a community.
Year C: Luke 10:38-42
- 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
is a significant theme in the writing of Luke and in this well known story Luke
also includes another significant theme, the discipleship of both women and men.
Despite the fact that Jesus is visiting his good friends Martha and Mary, the
sisters of Lazarus, Jesus breaks three Jewish cultural norms. Firstly, despite
their friendship, Jewish cultural norms demand that a male cannot be alone with
women who are not related to him. Secondly, Jesus cannot be served by a woman
and finally Jesus is teaching a woman in her own home. These are not insignificant
breaches of the 1st Century cultural code. Jesus' whole demeanour, along with
his teaching, is challenging all those who meet him. To many his behaviour would
be quite shocking.
early Christian communities embraced the teachings of Jesus, it was not uncommon
for women to host the church in their houses. Luke and Paul both describe female
deacons and leaders of these communities. For those of us who always seem to be
doing the work while others watch, our sympathies are usually with Martha. Her
hospitality is clearly active and more practical. Everyone is hungry and somebody
has to do something about it. However, Jesus' teaching is quite clear. "There
is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part." The word 'part'
from the Greek indicates 'portion,' so Jesus is teaching that there are different
ways of being fed and nourished.
"one thing" is listening to God's word, this is the best part of being
nourished. That is why our regular attendance at mass provides us with the nourishment
to go out and be disciples. If we are too busy being Martha, then we are not spending
enough time with God. If we spend all our time in contemplation, then we cannot
make our contribution to the Basileia, the Reign of God in our time. The decisions
we make about using our time need to reflect a balance. Jesus makes it clear that
God's primary intent towards us, God's children, is to give us love and salvation,
rather than seeing us rushing around and being caught up in 'the doing.' Our modern
world emphasises achievements, like Jesus, we need to be 'counter-cultural' and
focus more on God and God's unlimited love for us.
Ministry Resources 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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