Weekly Online Sermon
Whether they be church-goers or not, most people if you asked them would agree; Advent is most definitely a time of preparation.
But, of course, the key question is preparation for what?
Indeed, the very notion of preparation would imply that we have some understanding of that for which we prepare.
Christ the King could be considered a somewhat awkward Sunday to celebrate. It can strike a rather discordant note, and ring the wrong kind of bells.
It carries the danger of conjuring up images of a Byzantine royal court of power, of wealth, riches and status.
Today’s Parable of the Talents is not really about money – despite the fact that Matthew’s listeners would have been shocked into awed silence by the sums mentioned.
Whenever we read scripture we do need to remember who was the immediate intended audience.
On All Saints Sunday we remember that, for the most part, the saints were, simply put people – like you and me. Real people, who lived and hoped and dreamed. People who laughed and cried, loved and lost. People who had families and friends and sometimes enemies; some people who led lives of extraordinary holiness, and also those who were flawed and all too human.
In today’s passage from Matthew, also reported in Mark and Luke, Jesus is warning of the times to come, of the apocalypse that we should expect.
The fact that the apocalypse didn’t happen as they felt Jesus had foretold, should not blind us to the truth that for them, at the time, it truly felt like the end.
As parables go the story of the wedding feast is a rather odd one, and we might also question whether it can actually be attributed to Jesus, in whole or even in part, or whether we might feel the weight of Matthew’s pen pressing upon the page.
But if we consider that this may be Matthew speaking to the church of his time, a gathering of Jewish Christians but also with gentile, non-Jewish, converts, and written after the Roman sacking of Jerusalem it starts to make more sense.
The keeping of Harvest still makes sense in the countryside, but in an era when at the supermarkets we can get pretty much what we like, whenever we like, and from wherever we like, no matter how disconnected the producers may be from consumers, the links become broken, the ties severed.
In today’s Gospel we have a series of comparisons, power vs authority, faith vs deceit, words vs deeds, trust as opposed to cynicism. And there is also a warning, that actions speak far, far louder than all the words in the world.
It is all part of Matthew’s continuing theme where the first shall be last, at least those counted first by worldly standards, and the last, first.
The parable in today’s gospel is usually called ‘The Labourers in the Vineyard’. On the face of it, we are told a fairly simple but slightly odd story about an employer who seems to have some difficulty with identifying how many workers he actually needs to bring in the harvest on his land.
The poem comes from ‘the state of us’ a first collection of poetry by Larry Doherty – ISBN: 978-1-5272-7173-9. Larry Doherty’s debut collection of poetry is eclectic, nuanced and powerful. It reflects his thoughts and feelings on life in these challenging, turbulent, watershed times.
The video was recorded at Illaumanagh Cemetery, Shannon.
Anthony Gerard Richard Cronin (28 December 1923 – 27 December 2016) was an Irish poet, arts activist, biographer, commentator, critic, editor and barrister.
Cronin was known as an arts activist as well as a writer.
The concept of redemptive suffering has been an attempt to square the circle of pain and anguish in our world, but in the face of real suffering, when real life truly hits us in the face, it is revealed as a fragile illusion.
Too many people, for too long have been told to ‘offer it up’ or that they are sharing in the redemptive sacrifice of Christ, as a way of covering up – simply not knowing what otherwise to say.
So often in life, things do not turn out as we expect. Despite our fondest wishes and our greatest efforts, the reactions of others and changing circumstances mean that our plans can turn into gossamer on the wind.
In the very early days of Christianity, Christians were mostly Jews, who might worship, study and eat together in each other’s homes, but they would also worship at the Synagogue.
In his encounter with the Canaanite woman, a Gentile, and someone that a respectable Rabbi would avoid completely; Jesus is challenged with his own teaching.
Initially, Jesus seems to make his purpose clear “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
A story can grow in the telling – as it passes from one person to the next, especially over the years, new insights and meanings are discovered, embellishments are added to either emphasize the original intention, or even to change the thrust and direction of the...
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