Resources - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
A: Matt 13:44-52 - The Kingdom of Heaven - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
again Matthew uses parables to describe what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. This
time he uses the idea of a treasure or of something priceless that is immediately
valued by the one who finds it. It is worth slowing down the steps of these parables
to gain the insight provided. As Matthew uses the same idea of a treasure being
found in two parables then it is an indicator that this is important. It is also
appropriate in this day and age of materialism and consumerism that there is an
object of significant materialistic value being discussed.
first comment made is that something priceless is discovered, so invaluable that
the person desires it completely. Secondly, the person makes a decision to sell
everything that had previously been considered as essential to life or desirous
for comfort, in fact, everything in their possession. It is fascinating to contemplate
what would bring about this complete reversal of attachment. It is worth considering
our own possessions and what it might be that would prompt their sale.
slowing down this parable, we notice that there is a gap between finding and being
in a position to possess this treasure and this must surely have been the experience
of the disciples who so readily agree that they understand these parables. They
had been journeying with Jesus for some time and had more than likely walked away
from all that had once been essential or desirous for their lives. Here they were
in the presence of a priceless treasure, a charismatic leader whose words changed
their lives, a human being who would be revealed as God's son.
countless people have done the same across the centuries and many the Church has
named as saints. They have walked away from riches and prestige to spend their
lives following Christ after they had glimpsed the treasure of God's love - today
we pray to them as "the Communion of saints." And so it is today, this
same treasure is available, this same treasure is enough to change so many lives
and yet many walk away or are so lost to consumerism that their values are skewed.
Matthew then speaks of a
great net thrown over humanity and this must surely be God's grace enabling those
who might have walked away to come back. I know of many parents who pray constantly
for their children who have walked away from the institutional Church. This is
when it is important to trust in God's love for every person. God's Kingdom is
open to everyone, all that is required is conversion of heart to the priceless
treasure being offered.
C: Luke 11:1-13 - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
faith you follow, there is a particular way to pray - it is the mark of a religious
community. The disciples of Jesus know how to pray as Jews, Greeks or followers
of John the Baptist but they want to have their own distinctive form of prayer
as followers of Jesus in the Reign of God movement. They were not to be called
Christians until the Church was established at Antioch. The prayer Jesus taught
the disciples remains the prayer of Christians throughout the world. It is a sign
of our unity. From the first words of this prayer, we are aware of the intimacy
of relationship. This is not a distant god, a god to be feared or a god who demands
innocent sacrifice. Jesus speaks to God as Father or Dad so it is a distinctive
form of prayer, a prayer based on close relationship, a relationship that we share
through our Baptism. We too can name God as Father, as caring, provident, gracious
and loving parent.
is a key element of this prayer as we ask for God's forgiveness with the assumption
that we will forgive others. Sometimes we are better at the first part (asking
for God's forgiveness) than the second part. How well do we forgive those who
hurt us? How hard are our hearts? How many families are broken and don't speak
to some relatives because of a lack of forgiveness? Our prayer for God to forgive
us is genuine but it does come with the requirement that we be forgiving people.
We pray that God's Kingdom will come - the kingdom or Reign of God that breaks
boundaries. The Kingdom that values poor and rich, female and male, little child
and elderly. No one is more loveable or more important than the other because
each person is made in the image and likeness of God. Think about a person you
might be having difficulties with and look for God in that person. We are praying
for God's kingdom to come, not cheap imitations of it. Not partial forgiveness
but peaceful forgiveness. Jesus teaches us persistence with our prayer. Your will
be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Again, God is at the centre of our prayer.
If a person in a Palestinian village will hand over a loaf of bread for a peaceful
night, imagine the generous response we get from God who love us as a treasured
and precious child.
Ministry Resources 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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