Monthly Archives: July 2013

Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive (28 July, 2013; Ordinary Time 17C)

Reading
Luke 11.1–13

The disciples approach Jesus and say,

Lord, teach us to pray.

So Jesus teaches them the prayer from which we get the Lord’s Prayer, which Catholics call the Our Father. But you know, the Lord’s Prayer is not just a prayer; it is a brief outline of a whole relationship with God our Father. To reflect on the Lord’s Prayer is to learn what it means to be a daughter or son of God, so let’s reflect on just one of those things: God’s children forgive those who sin against them.

A minister of a church tells the story of an elderly lady, over ninety years of age, who hadn’t been to church for seventy-odd years. She was returning, you might say, after an extended absence. The minister was both welcoming and understandably curious.  Continue reading

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“There is need of only one thing…” (21 July 3013, Ordinary Sunday 16C)

In this meditation, I take the part of ‘Gideon’, who was a small boy at the time of Jesus’ visit to Bethany. I am aware of the discussions about the authorship of Colossians; for what it’s worth, I am content that it comes from Paul through the pen of Timothy, which accounts for differences in wording and emphasis.

I’m also well aware the vast majority scholars believe John’s Gospel wasn’t written until around the end of the first century. What can I say? I plead poetic license.

 

Readings
Colossians 1.15–28
Luke 10.38–42

 

Hello, shalom, peace be with you. My name is Gideon. I was only a young boy when it happened, when I overheard the conversation Jesus had with Mary and Martha back in Bethany, my hometown.

I used to hide near Martha’s kitchen, just in the courtyard. Was she a great cook! Her scraps and offcuts were better than anything we got at home, so I’d just…you know…help her to get rid of them. Many’s the time I came home with a full belly, and so it didn’t matter that there was no food on our table.

Years later, Martha told me that she knew I went there, and she used to throw extra out for me. She was a really generous lady.

Anyway, one day I’m in my spot and there’s a huge commotion inside. I heard Martha clattering around and saying something about Jesus, the teacher and healer from Galilee everyone was talking about. I heard enough to realise he was coming to see Martha and Mary, her sister. I settled into my place. Martha will feed him well, I thought, there’ll be some dee-licious scraps tonight!

I must have dozed, because the next thing I hear, Jesus is already in the house. Martha’s in a flap because she’s still getting ready. I can’t hear Mary at all. I soon realised why I couldn’t hear Mary. Jesus was teaching the men there, and Mary was sitting with them. She always was the cheeky one, but she was really eager to learn too!

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“When Worry Breaks our Troubled Hearts”

A wonderful new hymn from Stephen Fearing, with a good trinitarian form:

“When Worry Breaks our Troubled Hearts”.

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Loving neighbours: hope, faith, love

 

Readings
Colossians 1.1–14
Luke 10.25–37

 

This was in the news just over a week ago:

Good Samaritan stabbed in laneway

July 6, 2013

Police are hunting for a man who attacked a good Samaritan in a Brisbane laneway on Friday night.

The man suffered wounds to his neck, back and hand after he attempted to stop another man from stealing a handbag in the suburb of Milton.

The reporter didn’t have to explain what a ‘Good Samaritan’ is; everyone knows that!

Don’t they?

I wonder if everyone who reads such stories realises that the Good Samaritan is a character in one of Jesus’ parables. I doubt it, really.

But we know all about the Good Samaritan, don’t we? Well, maybe we do, but a little recap never hurts.

A teacher of the law asks Jesus a question. He reckons Jesus won’t have a good answer.

Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

That’s the same question the ‘Rich Young Ruler’ asks him. Jesus points both men to the Law of Moses. This time he asks,

What is written in the law? What do you read there?

The expert in the law gives the right answer!

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.

So Jesus says,

Do this, and you will live.

End of conversation. Not.

Jesus has put the teacher of the law in an uncomfortable position. He has answered his own question. He knows what is right in his head, but he also knows he doesn’t put it into practice. There are ‘certain’ types of people he doesn’t treat as neighbours. So he looks for some wriggle room, some way of getting off the hook. So he asks yet another question:

And who is my neighbour?

Jesus doesn’t answer that question either. Instead, he tells him how to be a neighbour—and who can be a neighbour. And what’s more, Jesus complicates the lawyer’s life no end. Continue reading

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Whoever listens to you listens to me…

Reading
Luke 10.1–11, 16–20

The Mission of the Seventy—a dialogue

Luke 10.16

Jesus said,
Whoever listens to you, listens to me,
and whoever rejects you rejects me,
and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.

Deborah and Obed are two people who reacted in different ways when the disciples came to thrir village.

Hello, I’m Deborah. How can I help you?

I’m Obed. What do you want?

You want to know about our visitors? The two men who came through our town the other day, the disciples of Jesus?

Visitors? What visitors? You mean those two no-hopers came who through our town the other day? Talking about Jesus or something?

I really enjoyed their visit!

I was glad when they left! Continue reading

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