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Category Archives: PARABLES OF JESUS

THE PARABLE OF THE SEED

Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 8:4-15 – TWENTY-FOURTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Saturday, 22 September 2018

The parable of the seed that was sown onto all kinds of ground was a great comfort to the early Church.  We all live, at times, with an unshared vision. We see things and futures that others are unable or refuse to see. It puzzles us as to why they can be so blind. Thus it was for the early Church. The Gospel of life and love which they lived and experienced did not receive universal acceptance. Some became Christians and then dropped away. Others left during persecution. All of this puzzled the early Church.

For them, Luke recounts the Lord’s parable of the seed. Its message: All we can do is our best to sow the seed widely. Where it lands and how it grows depends upon the ground. Through this parable, the Christians were assured that failure to find unanimous acceptance of the Word was not necessarily their fault but the result of factors beyond their immediate control. Even the failures of the early Church fell within God’s design.

We can control the sowing of the seed. We cannot control the growth that takes place in that mysterious chemistry between soil and seed.

Jakarta, 22 September 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

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PARABLE OF THE TALENTS

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 25:14-30 – TWENTY-FIRST WEEK OF THE YEAR: Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Holy Spirit we have received can expand the talents we have been given. Each of us has unique abilities and perspectives that we bring to bear upon our communities (basic community, parish etc.). Those talents can be developed as they are used and can be enriched by our interaction with others.

Further, the Holy Spirit enables us to turn our gifts into apostolic instruments for the edification of others and the glorification of the Lord Jesus.

All that we are and have can be influenced by the Holy Spirit. To cut off any part of ourselves from His presence is to hide a talent that might build up the body of Christ. For such reticence we are accountable to the Lord.

Everything we have, including our past mistakes, can be turned by the Holy Spirit into an instrument of grace.

Jakarta, 1 September 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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PARABLE OF THE BRIDESMAIDS

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 25:1-13 – TWENTY-FIRST WEEK OF THE YEAR:  Friday, 31 August 2018

Jesus’ parable complements Paul’s message about decision (see First Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:17-25). Our present actions have consequences for the future. Even inaction has consequences.

The wisdom or foolishness with which we conduct our lives have implications which we cannot escape. The passion or heat of the moment can distort things now as well as in the future. No argument is ever really forgotten. The good we do, individually and collectively, and the good we fail to do, are part of us. Nothing is ever a complete throwaway. Every day, we are either building up the Kingdom or destroying it.

Our present decisions and indecisions are never trivial.

 

Jakarta, 31 August 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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JESUS TALKS OF THE FINAL HOUR

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew  24:42-51 – TWENTY-FIRST WEEK OF THE YEAR: Thursday, 30 August 2018

The real function of the second coming is found in Jesus words in today’s Gospel reading. It gives us perspective. Realization that the Master will return for a strict accounting enables us, both as a parish and as individuals, to separate the trivial from the important.

The Lord’s second coming reminds us that the Church is an interim instrument. Everything of her – dioceses, parishes, liturgy committees, personnel boards, finance committees, diocesan offices – are all intended to glorify the Lord Jesus. In the final analysis, our manner of dealing with one another is the ultimate sign of faith that we can offer the world. If the law of the jungle pervades a diocese, then why should the world listen?

The test which places things in perspective is whether our parish membership helps us to love God and our neighbor – or not.

Jakarta, 30 August 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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PARABLE OF THE WEDDING FEAST

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 22:1-14 – TWENTIETH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Thursday, 23 August 2018

We can ask our two questions of this parable.

The people of the covenant had refused the invitation to is deeper fulfillment that was offered in Jesus. They refused to take the next step beyond law and national boundaries toward which Jesus called them. He then opened the Kingdom to the outcasts – those who knew their need for God. The meaning of the parable for us is that the Gospel is preached today through all sorts of media. People hear the words and refuse the invitation for all sorts of reasons.

Still, acceptance is not enough. The wedding garment indicates that acceptance entails discipleship. The test of the sincerity of our acceptance of God’s love is the extent to which it changes us. The “born again” experience (or any profoundly emotional religious experience) is authenticated by the extent to which it expresses itself in our lives. Otherwise, such an experience is simply an emotional release but not the start of a new way of life. The darkness in the parable can mean the point when we have to live with the spiritual consequences of our refusal to be disciples.

The call of Christ is a challenge, not a game.

Jakarta, 23 August 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD WORKERS

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 20:1-16 – TWENTIETH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Wednesday, 22 August 2018

We can read this parable on two levels: why Matthew put it in his Gospel; and what its significance is for us.

Matthew probably includes this parable because of a local conflict between the Jewish Christians who had entered the Church first and the burgeoning number of later Gentile entrants. Jesus’ words that the last to come are as important as the first to arrive are a lesson to Church stalwarts that all people are invited to drink deeply from the living water.

We read this parable to learn that closeness to the Kingdom, our personal holiness, is not determined by how long we have been Christians or, as Ezekiel (see the first reading) reminds us, by our rank in the community. Closeness to the Kingdom is determined by how responsive we are to the Lord’s call. The point of the parable is not how long the laborers worked but that they answered the call.

It is not status, age or function but closeness to the Lord that gives a person spiritual power.

Jakarta, 22 August 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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HOW MANY TIMES?

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 18:21-19:1 – NINETEENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Thursday, 16 August 2018

Jesus’ parables also speak to the gap between God’s word and our faith. Throughout Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus describes the life of the Kingdom, the Spirit-filled life. The demanding ideals which He articulates with such vigor serve as measuring rods by which we can tell how far we are from the Kingdom of God as a dimension of our life.

In today’s reading, Peter asks how frequently he should forgive a person who sins against him. “How many times?” Jesus responds, in effect, “All the time!” That is a very hard saying for us.

To underscore His point, Jesus recounts a parable which contrasts the huge debt forgiven by a king with the repayment of nickels and dimes which the forgiven official refused to postpone. The point made is that we find it difficult to forgive big things or small yet we expect forgiveness from God all the time. The assurance of sacramental confession is that He will forgive us. We expect it. We plan on it. Jesus tells us that if an individual admits himself or herself to be a sinner and has experienced forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father, they should not be unbending toward others. Our willingness to forgive others is one empirical test of our personal distance from the Kingdom of God in our lives.

Jakarta, 16 August 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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