October 2017

Sunday 1st October:  Trinity 16:  Matthew 21 28-32

This parable of Jesus describes two kinds of people. There are those who appear much better than they are.  They will promise anything and try to show they do the right things.  The other kind of people appear hard and selfish, but underneath are kinder and more generous than they seem.  The true way of Jesus is to practise what we profess to believe

How do people perceive you?

There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ “ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

 

Sunday 8th October: Trinity 17:: Matthew 21: 33-40

The vineyard in this parable stood for the Jewish nation; the owner was God and the workers the people.  The story tells of a God who trusts, has patience and who judges.  It tells of people who are given privilege and freedom, yet who are answerable to God.  It tells of Jesus (the son) who was foretold by prophets, and who sacrificed his life willingly.

How do we respond to the trust and freedom God gives us?

Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place.  When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.  Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.  Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’  So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”  “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

 

15th October:  Trinity 18: Matthew 22: 1-14

This parable reminds us that God has invited us to be his followers and to share the joy of his kingdom.  It reminds us that there are things that get in the way of our accepting his invitation – worldly concerns which we see as more important.  God’s invitation is free – we do not earn a place in his kingdom.

How much do we value God’s invitation?  What tends to get in the way?

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come.  So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

 

22nd October: Trinity 19: Matthew 22: 15-22

Once again, Jewish leaders try to trap Jesus with a question.  Each of us has dual citizenship – of our own country and of heaven.  While on earth we must obey the laws of our land, and try to influence, if we are able, decisions made on our behalf.  As citizens of heaven we have religious principles and our responsibility is to God.  We must try to live obediently in our state, but according to God’s will.

Pray for national and local leaders, that they may lead with integrity and a sense of justice.

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial taxa to Caesar or not? ”But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

 

29th October: Last in Trinity: Matthew 22: 34-40

The Jewish leaders pose yet another question to Jesus.  This is a question we must all ask.  Jesus’ answer puts into a nutshell what is expected of us as we try to lead our Christian lives. If we truly love God, then we shall love our neighbours, because he loves them too.  It sounds simple but it takes a lifetime of practice!  Loving in this sense means putting od and the needs of others before ourselves.

Pray for those you find it hard to love, because they are as special to God as you are.

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”




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