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Youth Ministry Resources - 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year A: Matthew 25:14-30 - The parable of the talents - 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

This is quite a complex parable because our 3rd millennium perspective tries to apply the people in the parable to God, the Kingdom and what each person is given. Sometimes that works but in this case the teaching does not translate easily. Jesus takes his parables from everyday life in 1st Century Palestine so that those listening to him can relate to the circumstances described and ruthless business men were prolific.

Perhaps the lens that provides the 'easier fit' for this parable is that of the evangelist Matthew who is writing for his community who are eagerly awaiting the second coming of Christ. Matthew is writing to help them focus on the best use of the time they have and how to be prepared for the end time. As followers of Jesus the Christ, they have been entrusted with a great treasure and Matthew is urging them to make a responsible use of the Master's goods in view of the judgement to come. Are they out evangelising and thus expanding the knowledge of the treasure entrusted to them? The treasure of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God who has redeemed them and offers them a way forward.

We too are meant to be actively using the 'talents' we have been given. As disciples of Christ we too are meant to be actively engaging with our world, with our neighbours and being prepared to be the voice for those who are struggling on the margins of our society. We are not to bury our 'talent' in the seedbed of apathy or laziness and take for granted the gifts we received at Baptism and Confirmation.

Each week we are called as community to celebrate together the gift of the Eucharist and by so doing be transformed into the Body of Christ and be strengthened to "go in peace to love and serve the world. We are the Body of Christ in our world and St Theresa of Avila summarises this reality and provides us with the challenge.
Christ has no body now but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on the world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands! Yours are the feet! Yours are the eyes, you are his Body.

Cate Mapstone

Year C: Luke 21:5-19 - 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

It is helpful to remember that Luke was writing around 80-85AD after the destruction of the Temple and during a time of some persecution of Luke's community, so the words of Jesus strike at the heart of this community. There is a sense of the eschaton a Greek word meaning 'limit' or end time and eschatological writing usually incorporates imagery of earthquakes, extremes of weather, tsunami and wars - a little like the world is today. These natural disasters are frequently used by cults to control their followers and to prop up their 'leaders' who are 'forecasting' these events, so disasters have been used across the ages as a way of interpreting cataclysmic events to suit particular movements. Jesus warns each of us to be careful of these signs from heaven and not to be deceived.

Jesus is also trying to teach the disciples the difference between chronos or chronological time and kairos or God's time; this is the time of fulfilment. Jesus is trying to encourage the disciples to persevere because "your endurance will win your lives." The Gospel is speaking of 'end times' and our challenge is to live faithfully now. Just as the disciples faced difficult times, we too experience our own levels of persecution. Sometimes it can be from our children who think we are strange because we continue to attend church. Sometimes it can be our friends or neighbours who make comments in social situations about our religious affiliations, where we are defenceless and are left to smile away the barb. Sometimes it can be our reluctance to mention in our workplace that religion and God are important to us for fear of being marginalised or ostracised from the 'in' group.

Just as the disciples faced trials and temptations we too make choices everyday about right and wrong, helpful and unhelpful. Every day we can say "yes God, you know I love you" simply by being a friend to someone who is lonely, someone who is on the edges of a group, someone who is hungry for some conversation and recognition that they are also God's beloved child. The way we live now determines our eschaton.

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Youth Ministry Resources 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time