Sunday Message

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Sunday Message 24th September 2017


seeing your life through the lens of the gospels – Matthew 20:1-16
1. ‘I was there first.’ Envy easily comes to the surface when faced with the good fortune of others, especially when compared to what seems less favourable treatment of ourselves. Can you recall that feeling in yourself and what it did to you? Can you also recall times when you were content with your lot, even though it seemed others had greater gifts, better opportunities, etc?
2. A parent or teacher who gives a lot of time to a difficult child does not love the others less, but if we are one of those other children we may not see that. Recall a ‘Jesus person’ in your life who helped you to overcome feelings of envy and helped you appreciate that the apparently more favourable treatment of another did not mean a lessening of love for you.
3. This leads us to the core message of this parable, namely, that God’s love is a free gift and not earned. Recall moments when you were particularly conscious of the gifts that God has given you by counting all the blessings that you have, no matter how small.
4. ‘It is too late now’ are words sometimes uttered to justify doing nothing about a situation. This parable tells us that where love is involved, it is never too late. Can you recall times when you got a positive response after taking action when you thought it was ‘too late’?  – John Byrne OSA

I should like to speak with you, my God, and yet what else can I speak of but you? Indeed, could anything at all exist which had not been present with you from all eternity, which didn’t have its true home and most intimate explanation in your mind and heart? Isn’t everything I ever say really a statement about you?
On the other hand, if I try, shyly and hesitantly, to speak to you about yourself, you will still be hearing about me. For what could I say about you except that you are my God, the God of my beginning and end, God of my joy and my need, God of my life?
... But what am I really saying, when I call you my God, the God of my life? That you are the meaning of my life? The goal of my wanderings? The consecration of my actions? The judgment of my sins? The bitterness of my bitter hours and my most secret joy? My strength, which turns my own strength into weakness? Creator, Sustainer, Pardoner, the One both far and near? Incomprehensible? God of my brethren? God of my fathers?
Are there any titles which I needn’t give you? And when I have listed them all, what have I said? If I should take my stand on the shore of your endlessness and shout into the trackless reaches of your Being all the words I have ever learned in the poor prison of my little existence, what should I have said? I should never have spoken the last word about you.  – Karl Rahner, Encounters With Silence

The Deep End
Many of Jesus’ parables are difficult. We are invited to place ourselves in the story. Which character do we identify with? To which group would we belong? Sometimes we find ourselves sympathising with the character who turns out to be in the wrong. God’s ways are not our ways!
The parable of the labourers in the vineyard is one of those tricky ones. We are drawn into the story, and we feel some sympathy for the crowd who end up grumbling at the landowner. These early birds who were hired at daybreak have done the most work. They have toiled all day in the heat, doing far more labour than those who were hired only at the last minute – yet they all receive the same pay. It’s hardly fair, is it?
But the landowner makes his point: ‘Why be envious because I am generous?’ Of course, Jesus anticipates the discomfort of his audience. He uses parables to gently pull the rug from under their feet, to challenge their assumptions, and offer them a new way of thinking that is focused not on themselves, but on the wider community.
Place yourself in the story. If you identify with the grumblers, ask yourself why. Why should we be concerned about what others are getting? Who are we to judge what others deserve? Surely we, too, should want God’s love and blessings to be extended to everyone! 
– Tríona Doherty, Athlone

(from Intercom)


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