The scholars indicate that Luke begins a new part of his gospel at 9:51, our beginning verse this week. They also suggest that we remember for the next nine chapters, the following verse: “Jesus resolutely took the road for Jerusalem.”
The preliminaries are over.
They also ask us to notice the audiences Jesus talks to; sometimes the Disciples, other times the crowds, or those seemingly accepting or rejecting his words.
This week we have a range: Samaritans and individuals who all had legitimate obligations. Underpinning his answers to all is a sense of urgency and a call for total commitment. Sounds a bit like today, a little like ‘Brexit’. The U.K. might wake up having nowhere to lay its head.
One difference is that, as he goes, Jesus keeps talking about the Word of God, even when people do not accept or understand. I think that there is room for Teams members to revisit their own beginning in the light of today’s Gospel passage. You gave yourselves to each other, maybe, in some cases, without the benefit of ‘holes’ or ‘nests’. And maybe even having seemingly strict obligations to be attended to that had to be set aside, if the marriage was to proceed. Commitment is difficult, is demanding, is desirable, and is attainable, now as then.
As we go in his footsteps, some hear and become part of the people; others reject the word and find themselves rejected from the people.
Difficult, challenging, rewarding and satisfying. Much better than missing the bus!
I was talking with Morrie today about ‘Things’. Morrie is always on about ‘Things’. He is also a very devoted Guide at Sacred Heart Cathedral and, being a former University Lecturer in Art, Morrie knows a thing or two about the building and, indeed, the purpose of the building. Each year, the local Year 9 students do a grand tour and often produce an anecdote…or two. Recently, one such student approached and began asking questions about the great western window. It depicts the image of Jesus as Sacred Heart and is flanked by Augustine, Patrick, Mary and Joseph; fairly traditional but rather beautiful when the sun is in the proper place. Upon being told that the man in the middle was Jesus, the student rather matter of factly remarked, “OK, I’ve been hearing a lot about him lately.”
We often speak about pivotal moments in our lives, in our sports, sometimes in our nation. On one level we can and rightly say to our political leaders: “who do the crowds say I am?” Some answers may be enlightening even for seasoned people! But for our world, the question still is who is Jesus, full stop, and who is Jesus for me?
“You are, all of you, daughters and sons of God” writes Paul. It is said that Martin Luther often used to look in the mirror and say (or maybe pray) “I am a son of God.” That reality is difficult to comprehend but truthful and pivotal for us.
One way of helping us realise that truth is by nosing around the truth: “You are the Christ the son of the living God.”
Have a happy and peaceful week.
“One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to a meal.” Jesus went!
I am still away, about to leave Hong Kong, but I must share with you a little thought occasioned by two incidents arising out of being invited to a meal.
At one, the host, still searching for the Faith, supporting his wife and family by his active presence on Sundays, was lamenting to me that he had invited the Parish priest for two years to come home for a meal, and the invitation has not been taken up. Semi crashing another dinner, I found myself in the company of a couple from Adelaide who, whilst in Hong Kong for the first time, remembered that my good friend, Fr Jim, was stationed here. He had celebrated their marriage some 40 years ago. So they invited him to dinner and eventually I turned up to have the obligatory drink. Both are reasonably committed to the Faith but the events of the past few years have taken their toll, particularly on the man, though he still reads.
So, in time, I suggested Teams. They had never heard of that, or them.
David, you will remember, used his table to do an evil act on Uriah, to get at his wife. The prophet Nathan laid it on the line. Sure there was forgiveness, but David was never the same again. The Pharisee Simon had varying intentions in mind in extending an invitation to Jesus. He obviously did not anticipate the unexpected visitor, or again the forgiveness of the sinful life, and she was never the same again.
All around the table!
Let Teams continue to promote its core values, emphasise its commitment to the table and be open to the unexpected in that setting and may each of us go home never the same again.
The first Sunday of June, or for us southerners, of winter!
I saw this sign on a T-shirt during an enforced window shopping walk earlier today: “The day of birth brings the first breath of death. The day of death brings the first breath of life.”
Our readings this weekend have much to say about life and death and of its importance to those communities then and, by extension, for us today. Paul then complicates or forces us to admit another side of physical life and death. The world, or at least some of its leaders, has offered the viewpoint that countries like India, China or the Philippines (hope Faye and Kevin Sue and Adrian are missioning happily) have too many people. But look at the faces of the parents of the newly born in those lands and they tell a different story, a story that the unnamed widows in the Scripture today would share.
Life and its importance, relevance and purpose are severely questioned in most societies today. Teams tries to bring Paul’s discovery of “the way, truth and life” in Jesus’ name to our world, and our appreciation of that gift in Baptism.
Let us remember our Teams in Syria, as well as the Philippines, this weekend.
They have challenges above the ordinary.