talent 33 plus two cents.

Aside

I could add ( http://bit.ly/2zRFRq1 ) that the one who buried their talents was a Roman (gasp). When a war looms large, those in the country side often buried their valuables for fear of loosing them in battle.

Jesus did preach a new kingdom, and some loyal to the old kingdom might have seen the threat, they might have seen the disciples talents bearing fruit. Under the old kingdom, people were drained to near lifelessness. The disciples were the opposite, they sprung to life. Its just my two cents

talent 33

Standard

No, I did not want to write on the parable of the talents Mt 25:14-30. It is cold, and dark, and will be for a long time. It is after All-Saints and All-Souls day. It’s after Halloween. It is the near end of the year, all are the stuff of November. The end is near.

In reading that parable my mind went to that last person who was given the least. He was the one that buried his talent, the money that was entrusted to him. In a November mindset, he buried it as if he placed it in a grave. He buried it as if it were dead and he was scolded.

The others , they took their money (their talents) and put it to use. Their money was lively, it was fruitful, and it multiplied. It was animated, it was alive.

In a November mindset, the coins become life and death: Jesus proclaims to be the God of the living. He seeks good-fruit. No, the talent buried did not sprout life. It remained unchanged. It did nothing. dead.

The lively money, and it owners that were rewarded, were praised because their riches increased. But what if those stewards took that talent, invested it and then lost. What would the master say then, what would he say to the investment that didn’t pan out? Would those with good intentions who stumbled face the same fate as that deadpan? For that I think there must be a parable of forgiveness.

 

 

A sower sows, and nothing grows… .

Standard

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path…

Mt 13:1-23

And as he sowed, some fell on a path and some fell on amongst thorns and some fell on fertile ground. A farmer scattered seed. Broadcasting is the oldest of agricultural techniques. This parable of Jesus is about farming. It is about the farmer’s desire for a crop and all that is needed to bring that crop to fruition. It requires that farmer, and viable seeds, and suitable soil, and a suitable climate. The parable is about farming and possibly the best reference on environmental science and ecology. To bring a seed to fruition requires a good farmer, good seed, and a good environment. All are interconnected. Papa Francesco wrote an encyclical on the environment. Papa knows the environment is important. Farmers know the environment is important. World leaders know agriculture is important, without its products people starve. They die. Take a look at the world.

The goal of the parable farmer is to get his seeds to land on fertile soil, there it had the best chance to grow. The agricultural scientist knows that fertile soil is a perishable commodity. Fertile soil becomes barren if not properly tended. In countries where deforestation is rampant, once fertile soil is vulnerable to erosion. If not stabilized by the roots of the plants, it is quickly washed into the sea. Europe’s churches were once fertile fields, today so many are barren. The crop needs fertile soil, and soil often needs a crop to keep it fertile. That is a lesson in ecology. Church Ecology 101. Church needs parishioners, and parishioners need churches. Each keeps the other fruitful. But what happened the agricultural scientist ponders, the ecologist wonders. The pope wrote an encyclical on the environment. He wondered too. What taints fertile soil.

What taints fertile soil? There are many things. One common technique of the ancient warriors was to salt the enemies fields, by deliberately poisoning its fields the warrior could destroy the crop. Fertile soil made barren deliberately. Today often a culprit is pollution, the fields are tainted through neglect. No one kept a watchful eye or inquisitive mind on the quality of water entering the irrigation ditches. Poisoned fields lead to poisoned crops. And how does this relate to the fields that are Christs Church? I ask, but I wonder if I should answer.

Jesus in His parable discusses the relation of seed to field. One topic the Good LORD does not mention is the atmosphere. Two thousand years ago #ClimateChange was not a priority. Today it is a prominent topic among politicians. As the earth’s climate can change, so can a political climate change. As a political climate can change so can a sociological and ethical climate change? As an ethical climate can change, so to can a moral climate. As a moral climate shifts, so does the religious climate. The success of a seeds germination is not only dependent on soil, it is also dependent on atmosphere. A common concern of the environmental scientist is air pollution. The pope wrote an encyclical on the environment, he was concerned too. Today the environmental scientist knows much about air pollution because much data has been collected. I wonder if Francis has the same. Air (waves) can be toxic, clouds can be seeded, and droughts can occur. Clean rainwater can lead to a fruitful harvest, acid rain can destroy the heartiest crop. Jesus spoke in parables so that people might ask questions. Churches depend on air. John Paul the second asked that the Churches windows be opened for a breath of fresh air. He stated that both lungs must fill with that air so that the Body might live to its fullest. Church and atmosphere can be related, what are its pollutants, its acid rain? The pope wrote an encyclical on the environment, he was concerned. Jesus told a parable. (i might add more later)

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows

Is 55:10-11

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 103

Mercy, Confession, Forgiveness.

Standard

Mercy, confession, forgiveness. They are present in all of the readings of this Sunday. All of the readings remind us of Gods infinite Mercy towards His children. In the first, the Lord has delivered the Hebrews from slavery. As Moses converses with God atop the mountain those people regress to their old ways, they build a golden calf for worship. Old habits die hard. The Lord warns Moses of the transgression, and Moses pleads on that flocks behalf. God is a Merciful God and forgives their transgression. Ex 32:7-11, 13-14 Those sinners are able to move past that sin and continue their journey towards the grace of God. Moses acknowledged what they had done was wrong, he did not try to justify a sin. Mercy, confession, and forgiveness. God is a merciful God that allows people to move from sin towards grace.

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.

Paul in his epistle acknowledges his sin. Paul was a persecutor of Christians. He was present at the stoning of Saint Stephen. In his letter Paul confesses his arrogance, he also confesses the faith he had discovered in Jesus Christ. It is in that faith that he preaches Christs gospel to others that once were unbelievers. Paul does not remain stuck in unbelief, and he does not remain condemned for his unbelief. He does not remain condemned because of his condemnation of Christians. He is able to continue his journey, he can move from darkness to light. Through the mercy of Jesus Christ he is forgiven. Dark to light, and sin to grace. 1 Tm 1:12-17

A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.

This is what Jesus in the Gospel argues with the Pharisees. A God of infinite mercy who offers forgiveness is the God that Jesus preaches, it is not necessarily the one that the Pharisees recognize. The Pharisees see Jesus associating with the sinners, and to them these sinners are the condemned. To those Pharisees the sinners have offended God, and because of that were condemned. Often irrevocably and that is a curse. To them Mercy and forgiveness are not apparent, and they fear the same vengeful curse. (The thing is a merciful and forgiving God is not a radical departure from their scriptures. Jeremiah, whom I have been reading, speaks of forgiveness. Gods mercy and forgiveness is etched throughout the Old Testament) It was the curse of the blind, and the crippled, and the leper. Vengeance versus mercy. Condemnation versus forgiveness. A God of wrath, and anger versus love and forgiveness. Jesus teaches of a God that goes after those that are lost and wounded, and a God that reaches out at all costs. That is a God of infinite mercy and forgiveness. God uncorrupted. Lk 15:1-32

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

The parable of the prodigal son also tells of two sons. The one that is disobedient and sinful, and the other that is sternly obedient. The sinner confesses his sins, and is embraced by the father. The other, he is arrogant and jealous of the sinner. Jealousy and arrogance are sins, they also are sins that are neither recognized nor confessed by that so called good and obedient son. Parables have many interpretations. One for this of the prodigal sons is that Jesus likened the righteous obedient son to the Pharisees. The Pharisees and Sadducees and Temple Priests and Scribes were the people’s conduit back towards God. The problem though was that they often functioned more as a roadblock to God, putting one barrier after another between God and man. Jesus wanted them to notice this, and to notice their own behavior in that righteous and arrogant son. He did not wish them to become like the sinner, but like the father that reaches out in an effort to bring that wayward soul back to the kingdom.

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 132

parables

Standard

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?”

Parables are interpreted, they are puzzles. One can think they understand, and a moment later try to answer another quizzical question. They have different meanings to different people, and they can have a different meaning to the same person at a different time or circumstance. They are intended to be that way, almost immediately understood and then questioned again. They encourage wonder and amazement, they challenge and beg for dialogue; and that is precisely how one should approach God. It is with amazement and understanding and an open mind.

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time