Resources - 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year A: Matthew
22:1-14 - The parable of the marriage feast - 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
again Jesus directs this parable to the chief priests and elders of the people,
the same ones who would later denounce him, publicly humiliate him and call for
his crucifixion. Jesus is well aware of who his audience is. The parable Jesus
uses describes the tremendous shame and loss of honour of the King when his invitations
are refused. Honour and shame are pivotal values of 1st Century Palestine so those
listening to this parable would have been most supportive of the murderous response
by the King.
The second audience for this parable is the
Matthean community. As a Christian community they had welcomed everyone who had
accepted Jesus as God's Son and so the community was made up of some colourful
people of less than respectable backgrounds. Like the guests for the wedding,
they had come from the outcasts, from the margins and those outside the Jewish
faith. Many of them had repented because of the love and acceptance found in the
Christian community, however, some had not changed their ways.
Church in history is a mixture of saints and sinners and so this parable was of
consolation to the early Church because it seemed as if Jesus had predicted the
problems they were experiencing in their community and the ongoing disputes with
the chief priests and elders of the Jewish community.
third audience is us, the people today, here in this place in 2005 listening to
the parable. We too have been invited to this wedding feast or messianic banquet
as we now understand it to be. God is not obliged to invite us but does so as
a free act of kindness. So how are we measuring up to this outpouring of God's
love? Are we also ungrateful guests who are too busy to accept God's invitation?
What does God think of our garments - our outer expression of our inner conversions?
and again we are invited - we don't have to go to holy places near and far, all
we have to do is close our eyes and go to our "private room" our inner
self and quietly be open to God's grace in our lives. We can be transformed by
God's grace and become what we were created to be and by living lives based on
God's love and acceptance of each person, the garment we wear becomes a most worthy
wedding garment. The choice is ours - do we say "yes" to God or are
we just too busy.
C: Luke 17:11-19 - Cure of ten lepers - 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
familiar story of healing ten lepers is often remembered because of the gratitude
of one leper and the ingratitude of the other nine. Leprosy has always had a sigma
and as a disease, has been greatly misunderstood across the centuries. In the
time of Jesus, lepers were forced to live in the countryside away from villages
and people generally. In a culture that placed heavy emphasis on ritual cleanliness,
a leper was someone to avoid at all costs. Lepers generally gathered together
in small groups with the common denominator being their disease rather than their
ethnicity - hence the inclusion of a Samaritan with a group of Jews. Generally,
Samaritans were ostracised because they had syncretised their beliefs (i.e. taken
what they wanted from the religious philosophies of the time, including Judaism
and paganism) and developed their own religion. Jews saw this as a rejection of
the one true God and so as an ethnic group, Samaritans were marginalised.
is making his way to Jerusalem and his rendezvous with God's will when he encounters
these lepers. The lepers cry out to Jesus for mercy and are told to go and show
themselves to the priest - the healing happens as they were going. The nine healed
Jewish lepers will retake their place in society and do not return to give thanks.
The one on the margins, doubly so because of his ethnicity and his disease is
the one who recognises that God is present in this healing. This good Samaritan
has overcome the syncretisation of his forebears and recognises that he has found
his salvation through Jesus. This once broken and unhealthy man has met the epitome
of human wholeness in Jesus.
We too face the attractions
of pagan culture, the magnetism of consumerism and the enticement of possessions.
We too can develop various 'levels of leprosy' as we forego a more simple lifestyle
and syncretise our beliefs and values. Sometimes we are very ready to label people
because of their ethnicity, status or disease. You only need to look at how people
with AIDS are shunned in our society and how little regard is given to the millions
of people denied drugs so that drug companies maintain their profits - do we show
that we know or care? Jesus offers us healing everyday and that healing comes
through turning away from the enticements of this world and experiencing conversion
and salvation through time spent with God.
Youth Ministry Resources 28th Sunday
in Ordinary Time
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