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The Parable of the Two Sons

“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I will go, sire’, but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

This is an extract from a reflection from Bible Alive for the 26th Sunday 27th September and the above Gospel reading

The message of the parable of the Two Sons can be boiled down to the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ (but words and actions would have pleased the father more). We profess our faith and say ‘yes’ at Sunday Mass, but do we live out our faith in our daily lives? Modern Western society likes to try and remove religion and faith from affairs of state and day-to-day living. St John Henry Newman taught that there can be no separation between what we believe and the way we live our lives. Neither of the two sons responds well to their father in today’s reading. One says ‘no’, but then has the strength of character to change his mind and do what he knows is right. The other pays lip-service to his father, but doesn’t do his will.

Dear Jesus, give us courage to respond to your call and challenge. Help us to make a positive contribution to society in your name. Amen

Seeds of God’s Word

Taken from Bible Alive September 19th (www.alivepublishing.co.uk

The potential within a seed for new life is one of nature’s miracles. Seemingly small and insignificant in itself, it contains all that is necessry to produce a plant, flower or crop. Jesus compares the word of God to a seed. So how does it cause new life to grow within us? Just as a seed brings a whole new order of life to the soil, so God, through his word and his Spirit, enters into a conversation with us that changes us within. ‘In the sacred books the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children and talks with them’ (Dei verbum 21).

Jesus said: ‘my words will not pass away’ (Luke 21:33). He is in glory in heaven, but through the Holy Spirit he continues to speak to us. ‘These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit…will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you’ (John 14:25). Jesus’ word has the power to change us as it changed the disciples. But he warns us that there is a battle, that we need to strive to be good soil. Which type of soil are we? Do we resist or welcome the seed of his word? We are called to accept the word, to grow, to choose life. ‘Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls’ (Jas 1:21).

Lord, may the seed of your word bring forth abundant fruit in me.

Comment from the editor: I have a garden. I planted strawberries into a patch. Tomato seeds from last year started to go there. Someone said let them grow among the strawberries and they soon showed themselves to be superior and took over the strawberry patch. Second thing was I noticed potato plants coming up in another part of the garden. I did not plant them and if I had potatoes in previous years they were never planted there. I got about 20 potatoes and I had not done anything. I pray that whatever soil I have that God plants the seeds of his word into my soil (soul) and that they grow and flourish and bring me into a state of goodness that cannot be overcome.

Seventy times Seven

This is taken from the 24th Sunday in the Bible Alive booklet for September (www.alivepublishing.co.uk)

C.S Lewis was right on the button when he said, ‘Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.’ We pray at every Mass: ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.’. Yet, when sinned against by a brother or sister, husband or wife, friend or foe, how ready are we to forgive? And how do we forgive? Reluctantly and resentfully, or readily, from the heart?

When Peter asked Jesus how often he should forgive, proposing the generous offer of ‘as many as seven time’, he was really trying to set a limit – to see how few times he could forgive and get away with it! Jesus responded with a number which was not really a number! ‘Seventy-seven times’ (or seventy times seven’) signified a countless number. Again we turn to C.S. Lewis, who explained: ‘We forgive, we mortify our resentment; a week later some chain of thought carries us back to the original offence and we discover the old resentment blazing away as if nothing had been done about it at all. We need to forgive our brother seventy times seven not only for 490 offences but for one offence.’

As often as the sense of grievance rises hot and strong with us, Jesus challenges us to forgive. And this forgiving is not so much about forgetting as about remembering without bitterness or acrimony in our hearts. Jesus speaks in the context of relationships within the church family. The closer a relationship, the more frequently and heavily we tend to tread on one another’s toes. Our deepest hurts are not usually inflicted by our worst enemy, but by our nearest and dearest, those close to us – our friends/relatives/work colleagues.

Editor’s comments: Yes and I say Yes. It is about anything that disturbs us. Every time it comes up give it to God. Again and again until he takes it graciously from our hands. Here is another. Forgiveness – again and again – for the same offense! Until we know that the offense is forgiven and it is God who washed it away when he knew we really and truly wanted to forgive. We are a funny lot but we are all made of the same human stuff.

 

If you would like to listen to something on the subject of forgiveness then go to youtube Bishop Robert Barrow Anger, and Forgiveness … He has many good Youtubes to listen to.