Resources - 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year A: Matthew
21:28-32 - Parable of the two sons - 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
will be listening to the last chapters of Matthew over the final weeks of the
Church's year and the overarching theme of the parables provided is about the
authority of God and the moral supremacy of Jesus compared to the claims of authority
by the high priests and elders. Jesus has just arrived in Jerusalem and so this
contest for authority that will end in the death of Jesus is held in the capital
of Israel and begins at the Temple, the ultimate symbol of power.
directs his words to the Jewish leaders and by presenting the parable about the
two sons, the opponents of Jesus find themselves compared with tax collectors
and prostitutes who will enter the Kingdom ahead of them. Unfortunately the power
of this intolerable comparison is lost on us because we have heard it so frequently
and so it has become commonplace, but it is the most insulting comparison a Jew
could ever be given.
Jesus insists that his opponents
refused to listen to the teachings of John the Baptist while those considered
the worst in society did listen and these tax collectors and prostitutes experienced
a change of heart and a conversion to God's will. The chief priests and elders
of the people that Jesus is telling this parable to were the ones who would claim
they upheld the Torah. Jesus dismisses them by describing them as the son who
said "Yes" to his father's request to go the vineyard and then did not
go. They were simply giving lip service and their hearts were those of hypocrites.
Jesus is teaching us what ultimately determines our salvation
and the joys of eternal life is when the human heart and the divine heart of God
are one. So the challenge from Jesus to us today is how we live our lives - is
it lip service or is it real. Are we so good at carrying our rosary beads and
yet being abusive to our spouse? Do we make such a fuss of our genuflections (the
more we do the more we show others how holy we are) or do we recognise Christ
in the person walking into the church with us, the one sitting near us or in the
person who challenges our perspective? Are we genuine compassionate people whose
hearts conform to God or are we very good at naming the letter of the Law and
carrying out the externals?
C: Luke 16:19-31 - The rich man and Lazarus - 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
is a story of contrasts - contrasts between a man dressed in the finest purple
linen and a beggar covered with sores. A contrast between their lifestyles and
a contrast between their afterlife. A contrast between being carried away by angels
to the bosom of Abraham (something we pray today in our funeral rite) and a man
who died and was buried. A contrast between someone who was blind to those around
him and someone who would notice if a crumb of food fell in his direction.
Hebrew Scriptures teach us that if we care for needy people we are children of
Abraham. The rich man in Hades calls out to Father Abraham, but his actions on
earth denied this relationship.
There were no deeds of
loving kindness, rather a self centred callous way of life - a way of life that
made the rich man blind to the plight of those who were less fortunate. It was
a case of apathy and myopia - it simply did not occur to the rich man that he
could do something, despite the wealth of teachings in the Hebrew Scriptures on
caring for the poor.
As Christians we have the teachings
of the Hebrew Scriptures along with the Christian Testament where Jesus builds
on the teachings of Abraham and Paul gives lengthy teaching on the Body of Christ.
Jesus taught "that whenever you did to the least of my brothers you did also
to me." We have the teachings of someone who rose from the dead, so really
we have no excuse for ignoring our wider social responsibilities.
are the invisible people around us? Homeless
people? Alcoholics and other drug users? Migrants? Aborigines? Unemployed? Single
mothers? Elderly people shut in their homes? etc There is an extensive list. Their
desperate situation is enough to attract the attention of God.
said "this is my body" and sometimes that body is covered in sores.
Hundreds of thousands of people are dying of AIDS, covered in sores, and yet developed
countries deny these people medication. The people in Sierra Leone have a life
expectancy of 34. The people in Darfur have been subjected to genocide. What are
we doing for these people?
In today's world the media
keep us informed of what is happening around the world, we cannot claim ignorance
of the millions who wait outside our front door. We have the Scriptures, we have
the risen Christ, we have the means, do we have the will?
Youth Ministry Resources 26th Sunday
in Ordinary Time
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