Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Matthew 13:36-43 So often it is our ego that blocks us from truly seeing and hearing the word of God

Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the Evil One,
and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his Kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the Kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

 In this passage, we see Jesus explaining in detail the meaning of the parable of the weeds in the field. His explanation is so detailed because the disciples are stupid and do not understand the meaning of parables. Here he is saying he is the Son of Man and his followers are the good seed. He contrasts this with the Devil as being the Evil One and his followers bad seed that need to be burned up. Here the emphasis is on casting out those who sin. This reflects the dualistic nature of the time period and explains the dualism that is deeply entrenched in Christianity. The final line "whoever has ears ought to hear" is interesting because he is saying that everyone can hear his message and that his message is universal. This is very different that Mt 13:14 which says "You shall indeed hear but not understand you shall indeed look but never see". So often in our lives we hear but do not understand. So often it is our ego that blocks us from truly seeing and hearing the word of God.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Matthew 13:44-46 We must act decisively

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”

What we see in these two sayings is that the Kingdom of God is something of great value. Its value is so great that it calls a person to do everything to achieve it. Its intrinsic value is so great that it calls the person who recognizes its value to stop everything no matter where they are in life. In the first passage the person who finds the treasure buried in the field does what they can to obtain the field. The reason for this is that had the person simply dug up the treasure it would have belonged to the owner of the field. Here Jesus is saying that the Kingdom of God calls us to conversion. When we encounter it, we smother it and guard it jealously. So when we reflect on the Kingdom of God, which is here and still to come, we must remember that we must act decisively and do what it takes to make it a reality.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Matthew 20:20-28 Let us surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit

The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her,
“What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

In this reading it is clear that the sons of Zebedee do not fully understand the fate of Jesus. They do not clearly understand the purpose of Jesus' mission and fail to understand their relationship with God and God's people. Jesus' message is about serving others and being meek. This is because when we become full of ourselves we forget the true things in life: loving God and loving our neighbour. We make ourselves into gods when we wish to lord over others. Today's reading reminds us that true freedom and success is not about boosting our own ego, but deconstructing ourselves and allowing the Holy Spirit to be our true guide.