Pause for Thought

4th October                Trinity 12                         Matthew 21 v,33-41

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 tower. Then he rented it out to some tenants and went away on a journey. When the harvest time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his share of the fruit.  But the tenants seized his servants. They beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Again, he sent other servants, more than the first group. But the tenants did the same to them. Finally, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and take his inheritance.’  So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard returns, what will he do to those tenants?”  “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and will rent out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him his share of the fruit at harvest time.”

Those who heard Jesus tell this story would have understood exactly what He meant.  God's vineyard represented the Jewish nation. Every vineyard had a winepress.  Absentee landlords trusted their workers and were only interested in collecting the rent  - given in money or as a percentage of the produce.  The messengers who were sent represented the Old Testament Prophets, and the Son was Jesus.  The story tells us about God's trust in human beings and His patience with us.  It tells that we shall all be answerable to God on the final day about the way we have lived our lives.  It tells about Jesus - that He came out of the message of the prophets - and of His sacrifice for us.

Do we realise what a huge sacrifice Jesus made for us on the Cross?

Are we living as if we shall be answerable to God?

 

11th. October                  Trinity 13                             Matthew 22 v. 1 - 14

Once again, Jesus spoke to them in parables:  “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.  He sent his servants to call those he had invited to the banquet, but they refused to come. Again, he sent other servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner. My oxen and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ But they paid no attention and went away, one to his field, another to his business.  The rest seized his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged, and he sent his troops to destroy those murderers and burn their city.  Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited were not worthy.  Go therefore to the crossroads and invite to the banquet as many as you can find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered everyone they could find, both evil and good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he spotted a man who was not dressed in wedding clothes.  ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But the man was speechless. Then the king told the servants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

This parable seems a somewhat implausible story, but it tells the message in a way that Jesus' listeners would remember!   A wedding feast was sometimes used to describe the glorious Kingdom of God to which the Jews had been invited as His chosen people.  Jesus made it clear He had been sent first to the Jews, but even in His short three year ministry on earth, he had begun to reach out to Gentiles as well.   Through Jesus’ death and resurrection we have all been invited to join Him in his heavenly kingdom.  Unlike the guests who came to the wedding feast, we must be prepared for that final and wonderful event.  We are called to prepare  -  first through repentance for our failure to follow God closely , and then by trying to live out lives of love and service as Jesus did  -  reaching out to others.

Do I repent when I fail God?

How can I live according to the law of love as Jesus did, reaching out to others 

 

18th October                             St. Luke                             Luke 10 v. 1 - 9

After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place He was about to visit. And He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse or bag or sandals. Do not greet anyone along the road. Whatever house you enter, begin by saying, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay at the same house, eating and drinking whatever you are offered. For the worker is worthy of his wages. Do not move around from house to house. If you enter a town and they welcome you, eat whatever is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ But if you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go into the streets and declare, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off as a testimony against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

St. Luke, whose day we celebrate, was a historian as well as a doctor. In his second book, The Acts of the Apostles he traced the growth and mission of the early Christian Church.  In his Gospel, he began to stress the importance of mission.  Today we hear how Jesus sent out 70 of His followers to preach about God’s saving act.  He stressed the urgency of their work  -  no stopping on the way ( a traditional Middle Eastern act of courtesy ) and preaching only to those who accepted them!   Today, as we look around, we too can see the urgency of preaching about God's love and His saving act through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

How can we respond to the urgent need to tell of God's love?

Decide what you could do to play your part for the mission of the Church, and pray for God's guidance

 

25th October                          Trinity 15                             Matthew 22 v.34 - 40

And when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they themselves gathered together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him with a question: “Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” Jesus declared, “ ‘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.”

Today we read about Jesus' great law of love.  It is the greatest command for all those who say they are Christians   -   Love God and love your n eighbour.  It sounds simple but we all know how hard it is!  The law is two-fold.  We must develop our loving relationship with God through prayer.  As our love for Him grows, we shall want to love our neighbours because we shall begin to see them as He does - even if we don't like them very much!

As we meet people today, let us try to see them as God sees them and ask  ourselves the question - " How can I show him/her God's love?"

 




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