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Youth Ministry Resources - 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year A: Matt 14:22-33 - Jesus walks on water - 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

It helps to remember that this passage follows on from last week's passage about the miracle feeding of the crowds. Jesus sends the disciples off over the lake towards Gentile country while he farewells the crowd and walks up the hills to find a peaceful place for prayer. There are a number of elements for reflection from the outset. The disciples were being sent into what could be hostile territory without the physical presence of Jesus, their reaction is not recorded but the disturbance they will encounter is reflected in the storm.

Jesus stays with the crowd, he has cured them, fed them and now farewells them, a final experience of hospitality, as they return to their villages and towns transformed by their encounter with Jesus. Jesus then seeks out a place to pray to God reminding us of the importance of setting aside time each day for quiet prayer. Yes, our communal prayer is vital, but we also need that silence and the sense of 'oneness' that we have when we sit quietly and pray.

The struggles of the early church are presented through the analogy of the boat struggling in the rough sea. We also have echoes from Hebrew Scriptures of nature out of control in the wind and rain and this chaos can only be controlled by God. So the Jewish community that Matthew was writing for was not surprised to hear of Jesus the Christ walking across the water to restore order and calm. By walking on water, Jesus assumes the role of the creator-god who alone governs chaotic waters.

We next hear of Peter, impetuous and impulsive often portrayed as saying or doing the wrong thing which is rather reassuring for us when we feel uncertain about what step we should be taking. Like Peter we are a bit of a mixture when it comes to our response to God, sometimes confident with the greatest profession of faith reflected in Peter's ability to walk on the water and then the uncertain, the wavering faith that fails us when we start to rely on ourselves instead of God.

The Church today may be presented in the same analogy of the boat in the chaos there are many opposing forces that we encounter but we are not alone and we pray "God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory…" all we need is faith, the faith of the disciples who cry "truly you are the Son of God."

Cate Mapstone

Luke 12:32-48 - Watchfulness and Faithfulness - 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

There is frequent use of the word servant, 'doulos,' and steward and this passage is not promoting slavery. Luke is writing to his community and their emphasis is on servant leadership and so Jesus' words are directed to the servant and stewards of the early Christian Church. Peter, as spokesperson, even asks if the message is for them.

There were problems in the early Church with some Church leaders who were known to "eat, drink and become intoxicated" at Eucharist with "lesser" members of the community missing out. We have seen different versions of excesses in the Church over the centuries. The Church recognises that it must be continuously seeking to reform. The question for us today is "when do we 'eat, drink and become intoxicated' in the church?" Perhaps some are intoxicated by power or fear rather than being full of God's Spirit of hope. Do we become full of our own self-righteousness? When do we feel that we are better than others in the community? How often do we put ourselves out for others in the community? Do we sit back and let others serve or do we look for opportunities, however small, to make a contribution?

We read of the master "who will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them." This shocking reversal is what God is offering us - a God who waits on us, a God who waits so patiently for us to engage with this divine generosity. We are asked to live lives that reflect this relationship and everyone will be held accountable. We are given "a great deal" and "a great deal on trust" there is no thought here of being given only a little. God's abundant love is not measured out unequally or miserly. God is asking us about our priorities - "where your treasure is, so therefore will be your heart." It is worth reflecting on what we treasure, how we distribute our goods, whether they be our time, our love or our trinkets. What do we prioritise and how accountable we will be when our time comes.

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Youth Ministry Resources 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time