Sunday 4th June: Trinity Sunday Matthew 28 16-
Meanwhile, the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
At the very end of St. Matthew’s Gospel we read Jesus’ final words to his disciples before he ascended into heaven. Using the authority given to him by God the Father, he sends his disciples out into the world to do the work for which he had been preparing them for three years. They were to teach people that Jesus was God’s son who had been sent into the world to tell us all about God, to die on the cross for the sins of us all and to conquer death by rising to life again, finally returning to heaven. That is our story too and we are to tell as many people as we can so that they too can believe, be baptised in the name of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
How do we obey that great commission of Jesus? Today is Trinity Sunday. We don’t have to understand the Trinity (that one God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit). We are just called to experience him – through the wonder of creation and in observing how God sustains all that he has made; to love him through what he did for us in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus; and to allow ourselves to be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Sunday 11th June: Trinity 1: Matthew 9 9-43
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” ………..” While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.
When Jesus called Matthew to be one of his followers some criticised him saying he was making friends with sinners. Well, he was because we are all sinners, but we have all been called to be his friends. If we stay close to him in prayer, he will begin to change us. We shall recognise our sin, feel sorry that it separates us from God, and we shall want to be changed.
We then read briefly of two people who went to Jesus for help. The first was a leader in the local synagogue whose daughter had died. So deep was his faith in Jesus that he called him to restore her to life. The second was a woman who had been ill for 12 years. Her faith in Jesus was so deep tht she knew that just by touching his robe she could be healed. We learn two things today – that God loves each so much, even if we do not always get things right; and that it is faith in his love that enables our prayers to be answered. Let us ask God to deepen our faith in him as we reach out to him in prayer.
Sunday 18th June: Trinity 2 Matthew 9 v. 25-10 v. 8
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”. Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, a drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
When Jesus was on earth he chose twelve men to be his special followers. For three years they were everywhere with him. He taught them about God and gave them an example of how to stay close to God through prayer. He showed them what ‘loving your neighbour’ really meant, as he travelled around reaching out to all in many kinds of need. Finally, he showed them how much God loves everyone in the world by suffering, dying for their sins and rising again. Jesus taught his disciples that they were to follow his example and to continue his work for the rest of their lives.
God has called each of us to be a disciple for him in our world today. How well are we getting on in our job of discipleship and mission?
Sunday 25th June: Trinity 3 Matthew 10 24-39
Jesus said “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. or I have come to turn“ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Jesus never said that following him would be easy. In these few verses of his teaching we see this clearly. However, in the same verses we read words of comfort and support. “Do not be afraid” Jesus said. Those who speak and act harshly or unkindly to us do hurt our feelings, and even seek to harm us. They cannot however hurt our souls – and that should encourage us.
How can we remain close to Jesus in hard and hurtful situations?