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Youth Ministry Resources - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year A: Matthew 25:1-13 - You do not know the day or the hour - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus is teaching his disciples about being prepared for when he is no longer with them. Matthew is writing to his community around 80-90CE, this community is desperately waiting the parousia or the end time when Jesus will return and they will experience the fullness of the Basileia or Kingdom of God. Matthew's community had witnessed the destruction of the Temple in 70CE and watch in horror as the Romans destroyed so much of Jerusalem. They had moved away from the synagogue into house churches and were trying to make their way as a new Christian community in the midst of their world going to pieces. They were anxiously waiting for Jesus to return, as promised.

This parable about the ten bridesmaids has some obvious elements - Jesus is frequently portrayed as the Bridegroom and as the Light for the world so it is appropriate that the bridegroom arrives at midnight when there is no light. The wedding feast is the Basileia when we experience first hand the overwhelming love of God and eternal life in its fullness. What Jesus is insisting upon in this parable is that we be ready and prepared for the enormity of this reality.

The bridesmaids who were prepared came with extra oil and when those bridesmaids who were not prepared with flasks of extra oil asked to share this oil their request was declined. This lack of sharing may have appeared petty and that can be a problem with parables when they are interpreted too literally. What Jesus is asking us to focus on is that each of us needs to be nurturing our relationship with God, each of us needs to be watchful of our behaviour and prepared to be with God at any time. That kind of preparedness cannot be loaned for given by another, it is ultimately up to each one of us.

A friend of mine was buried on Monday after having been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Her husband explained that they woke up one morning and life as they knew it would never be the same. Unfortunately many of us have witnessed this difficult journey with our friends and family. What smoothed these last 14 months for my friends was their incredible faith. They had the 'oil' to see them through this time and their lamps shone brightly in a world clouded by materialism, selfishness, natural disasters and terrorism. We are called to be people of hope and to live in the light of God's love all we have to do is say 'yes' to God and live our lives within that 'yes.'

Cate Mapstone

Year C: Luke 20:27-38 - God of the living - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus is involved in a theological discussion with the Sadducees about the possibility of the resurrection. It is important not to be caught up in the example used of the woman who marries seven brothers. This example is called a reductio-ad-absurdum, the Sadducees are using the most absurd example to reduce the logic of the debate. In an honour and shame society, they are seeking to shame Jesus by tricking him into supporting the absurdity of their described situation.

The two major religious parties during the time of Jesus were the Pharisees and the Sadducees. One of their great debates and reason for division concerned resurrection. The Pharisees affirmed it and the Sadducees denied resurrection and so they were Sadd…u…cee. Jesus points out how limited their thinking is and how it greatly underestimates God. God is the God of the living and when God speaks in the Hebrew Scriptures it is always in the present tense "I am…" Since God is the God of the living, God must have sustained the dead Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by resurrecting them "for all are alive to him."

This is a basic belief of the Catholic Church. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. These words in the Creed are said publicly at mass. It is with this confidence that we can say goodbye to those we love as they die because we believe that life is changed by death, not ended. Our relationship with God continues after our death. Our belief in our own resurrection gives us hope in this life we are living now. Our relationship with the living God is a part of our life - now. The key relationship in our lives is that we are children of God and as a child of God we are precious and loved - this relationship came about through our Baptism.

Baptism is when we become God's anointed one, we receive the light of Christ and we are clothed in white. That same colour is placed on our coffin to signify the link between Baptism and eternal life. Through our Baptism we are given hope to live this life, despite its sufferings, because we know that God is God of the living, this is the core of our hope and belief in resurrection.

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Youth Ministry Resources 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time