CONTENTS OF THIS SECTION
- Readings for the Sunday.
- Reflective Questions. For private or group use.
- Focusing the Gospel.
- Connecting the Gospel.
- Understanding Scripture.
- Web News!
SUGGESTION BEFORE YOU READ THE SCRIPTURES TODAY.
Try not to read just to read it and get through it. Got my drift? We can do this so easily. Take the Readings slowly….as you read, you might like to read it aloud. The sounds of the words help us concentrate and it helps us reflect as we read. Try and be aware of your breathing before you even start….it is better to be at 5 k.p.h that 50! Enable words and meanings to gently jump out at you….soothingly take note in your mind as to what teases you as you read and see God’s Word. Don’t forget that the First Reading is always linked to the Gospel…..see if you can pick up the links.
GOD’S WORD TO US
First Reading: Ezekiel 18:25-28
The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘You object, “What the Lord does is unjust.” Listen, you House of Israel: is what I do unjust? Is it not what you do that is unjust? When the upright man renounces his integrity to commit sin and dies because of this, he dies because of the evil that he himself has committed. When the sinner renounces sin to become law- abiding and honest, he deserves to live. He has chosen to renounce all his previous sins; he shall certainly live; he shall not die.’
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 24:4-9
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Lord, make me know your ways. Lord, teach me your paths. Make me walk in your truth, and teach me: for you are God my saviour. R.
Remember your mercy, Lord, and the love you have shown from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth. In your love remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord. R.
The Lord is good and upright. He shows the path to those who stray, he guides the humble in the right path; he teaches his way to the poor. R.
Second Reading: Philippians 2:1-11
If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. That is the one thing which would make me completely happy. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead. In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus:
His state was divine,
yet he did not cling
to his equality with God
but emptied himself
to assume the condition of a slave,
and became as men are;
and being as all men are,
he was humbler yet,
even to accepting death,
death on a cross.
But God raised him high
and gave him the name
which is above all other names
so that all beings
in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld,
should bend the knee at the name of Jesus
and that every tongue should acclaim
Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
THE LORD’S WAY UNFAIR?
Most human beings love a happy ending. This usually means that the good guy wins and the bad guy loses. This concludes everything with a neat, pat answer. But life is not that simple. Few people act out of pure motives–good or evil. Even those with sinister objectives may have had bad experiences behind their goals. Judgments are too often made insufficient understanding of why people act.
God knows the whole person from birth to death. His judgment is based on all factors. Moreover God sincerely loves each of us and wants us to change. If the most wicked person can alter the course of his or her life, the Lord is anxious to forgive. Too often, we only want revenge. God’s way is more fair.
Gospel: Matthew 21:28-32
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go”, but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir”, but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ ‘The first’ they said. Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ
How about going back to the First Reading and see if the link between it and the Gospel becomes more evident to you.
REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS::::::: POINTS TO PONDER ‘Lord, what are you saying to me through your Holy Word today?’
1. Ezekiel was a priest and a prophet with his people in exile in Babylon. Jewish people had a deep sense that sins of their ancestors had caused their current situation (in exile away from Home and their sacred Temple in Jerusalem). It was easy for them to ‘blame’ others for their current situation. They ‘blamed’ God that this exile was ‘unfair’. Ezekiel invites them to take personal responsibility for ‘sin’. Turn to virtue, do what is right and just. This is the way forward. God will teach us and lead us home. Is there an attitude in your life of ‘blame’ rather than taking ‘responsibility’? Blame leads to death. Responsibility leads to life. What change do you need to make?
2. St Paul invites disciples to have the one essential attitude that will maintain unity: humility. Giving up an attitude of having special rights. Power. Influence. Can you think of a situation in which being ‘humble’ would have saved a meeting, argument, relationship. How could you become more ‘humble’?
3. Jesus has now arrived in Jerusalem. Angry at his emptying of the Temple, the religious leaders challenge his actions and authority to teach. Jesus responds. Pious words and lip-service is easy. To be true children of God requires actions of doing the will of the Father. In your own self assessment, how large is the gap between your profession of faith and the practice of your faith? In what area of your life is more ‘action’ required? What would motivate you to action?
4. Anyone can talk holiness, but it is quite another thing to live it. Consider someone in your life who ‘talks the talk and walks the walk’ of their christian belief. How do they inspire your journey? How could you follow their example?
5. Both sons responses hurt the Father. No-one here is perfect. Jesus understands a priority for Jewish people is to show ‘honor’. The son who said ‘Yes, sir’ was honorable in front of the Father but it was soon revealed as empty and meaningless. Honor is shown ultimately in real obedience. What will it mean for you to ‘walk the talk’ in obedience this week? Consider writing it down.
6. A requirement for ‘tax collectors’ to be truly repentant and ‘right with God’ was to repay money to those who had been ‘over-taxed’. However it was impossible for them to know and remember all the people they had wrongly taxed. Tax collectors felt helpless and stuck in a situation of never feeling they could be forgiven by God. Jesus reveals this is not the case. God welcomes those who turn to him. Do you know someone who needs help to hope and believe in God’s forgiveness? Consider praying a special prayer for them.
7. What is one action that you will do to ‘live-the-word’ this week?
Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases
- Which of the two sons did the father’s will?
- Tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before
- My sheep listen to my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.
- When the sinner renounces sin to become law- abiding and honest, he deserves to live.
- Remember your mercies, O Lord.
- His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself.
- Your word, O Lord, is truth: make us holy in the truth.
to the point
The two sons represent two responses to God’s command. The first son – like the ‘tax collectors and prostitutes’ – initially refuses; however, the ‘tax collectors and prostitutes,’ in response to John’s preaching, changed their minds (like the first son) and entered the kingdom of God. In response to Jesus’ preaching, will the ‘chief priests and elders’ change their minds? Will we?
Connecting the Gospel
to the first reading
In Ezekiel the life and death consequences of turning from sin are experienced in this life. Read in light of the gospel, these consequences are eternal – entering (or not) into the kingdom of God.
to Christian experience
It is not our initial response to God’s command that measures our obedience, but ultimately our actions.
This chapter of Matthew’s Gospel (ch. 21) began with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. As Jesus enters into controversy with the ‘chief priests and elders’ (21:28), he is on their home court. The primary seat of their authority – the Temple – has its home in Jerusalem.
In this brief parable Jesus employs the image of a father and two sons; it is a familial and personal image and thus different from other images we have so far encountered, such as king and servant (18:23-33 – Sunday 24) or landowner and hired labourers (20:1-15 – Sunday 25). As Jesus makes clear in his explanation, the son who refuses the father’s command but then changes his mind represents the ‘tax collectors and prostitutes’ (21:31); the other son who says ‘yes’ but disobeys represents the chief priests and elders. Note the implication of the parable’s use of the father-son image: the chief priests and elders are brothers to the tax collectors and prostitutes! Just making them members of the same family was insulting! Tax collectors and prostitutes were public sinners and were despised by the religious leaders for two reasons. First, their conduct was sinful: tax collectors were widely suspected of cheating people, and prostitutes violated moral and ritual laws. Second, both were viewed as collaborators with the hated Roman occupiers: taxes were collected for the Romans, and prostitutes largely serviced Roman soldiers. Yet these sinners have the same father as the religious leaders.
Moreover, the parable isn’t impersonal or entirely contrived. Early in the gospel, as John the Baptist was preaching and baptising, ‘the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him . . . and they were baptised by him in the river Jordan’; among them ‘many Pharisees and Sadducees [were] coming for baptism’ (3:5-7). Thus, these religious leaders said ‘yes’ to John’s call for repentance; but in their rejection of Jesus their actions said ‘no.’ In rejecting the teaching of both John and Jesus they have rejected the ‘way of
righteousness’ (21:32). To enter the kingdom they must change their minds about John, about Jesus, and even about tax collectors and prostitutes.
WEB NEWS: FUNNIES TAB
Last week I added Chapter 14: Fr.Williamson goes to God! Amidst the tragedy of the P.P’s sudden death, you would be surprised at the starange, and very funny events that happened on the day of his death! If you would like to put a smile on your dial….do check out the FUNNIES. I will be adding a new chapter every two weeks. Next chapter is due on the 3rd of October….stay tuned! Chapter 15.: Who is going to take Father dear Father’s place as PP of Finuge? ( Very interesting )
THE READINGS TAB:
- This is week I posted an Essay on the reflections of an Anglo-Saxon ( Fr.Kev Walsh) growing up in a Multi cultural Australian Society in the 60′s & 70′s.
- Recently added a very interesting and thought provoking Reflection on Adam and Eve, which I copied from a recent Passionst Province Newsletter.
- Inspire Library! This great website, generated by Colin Lee, is especially good solid and inspiring material for your Teens!!
- There are four short Essays by myself on Holy Communion.
SOON TO BE ADDED ON THE READINGS TAB:
- An Essay on: ‘Towards a spirituality of the heart’. A way of
understanding, explaining, and a living out the Gospel way of life in the here
POSTINGS EACH WEEK:
- Alternate Monday nights…..FUNNIES
- Tuesday Nights. Readings, Reflective Questions and Commentary on the
following Sunday’s Scripture Readings.
- Thursday Nights. A realhomilie, followed by suggested Family
Intercessions, in response to the Scripture Readings.
Please don’t be backward in coming forward with your comments, inspirations or reflections. Either insert them into the Blog, or email them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to PO Box 312 Stanhope Gardens 2768
IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING WHICH WOULD BENEFIT US ALL, BY WAY OF A REFLECTION, ESSAY, ETC.
Once again, please do send them along…
Finally, I look forward to being with you all through this medium. As you know, I am a full time Carer for my 91 year old Mum, which occupies the daylight hours. The Scriptures, the Readings, the realhomilies and the Funnies, enable me to share God’s Word with you all; this I prepare duing the silence of the night! I have always been an Owl not a Foul when it comes to study and writing. So let’s continue to remember each other to the Lord the next time that we are held in conversation.
God Bless you and your Families,
PS: Please excuse any typos that you might find…even though I go through the text a few times before posting, so often I later see a spelling error, or something