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Parable Of The Unjust Judge

Jesus teaches his listeners the parable of the unjust judge in order to affirm for them the efficacy of prayer. If even this unrighteous judge will grant the widow’s request, he tells us, how much more will God vindicate his elect, and speedily. We are called upon by Jesus to live a life of prayer – to express and to strengthen our faith through prayer and to channel our ever enriched faith into further prayer. This is the way to orient our lives to God [ … ]

Parables Of God’s Mercy | The Lost Sheep And The Lost Coin

The publicans (tax collectors) and other sinners are drawn to hear Jesus’ teaching. Perhaps they feel Jesus offers hope to them especially. While the scribes and Pharisees, despising sinners, find Jesus behaviour as he mixes with such people to be utterly objectionable, Jesus receives all humanity with love, understanding and, where there is faith and repentance, forgiveness. It is as if the people know that they are not condemned but can be accepted by Jesus. He offers them hope [ … ]

Easter Sunday | The Resurrection Of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Easter! Today we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. Jesus has conquered death and sin. This is the proof of our salvation in Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus lived. We have his teachings and the clear evidence of the miracles he worked. We know he died. Now we have the proof of our faith in Jesus. He lives again. He did not know corruption. He raised himself from the dead to be near us always and to sit, as he promised, at the right hand of his Father in heaven. We have passed through darkness and the light of our lives is with us now and always [ … ]

Holy Week | Holy Saturday | The Easter Vigil

It is a time of vigil while Jesus rests and we await his resurrection on Easter Sunday. Jesus has died to free us from our sins. While he rests, the church is a quiet and sombre place. We think of Jesus’ first followers and of what they must have felt and thought through this time. They must have felt very alone and abandoned, and indeed at risk of losing their own lives [ … ]

Holy Week | Good Friday | The Passion And Death Of Jesus

This is the Passion and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. For us all, this is a tremendously saddening and painful part of our Easter journey, as, in a sense, we die again with Jesus to be reborn on Easter Sunday. The church is dark. There is an emptiness to the building as Jesus rests. Through this time, we acknowledge our need for Jesus and pray that he may come again to be with us [ … ]

Jesus Washes The Disciples’ Feet | The Last Supper | Holy Week | Holy Thursday

John speaks of the Last Supper in a different way from the Synoptic Gospels. He omits, for example, the institution of the Eucharist, because the other Gospels and Paul have already spoken of this in their accounts of the Last Supper. Through chapters thirteen to seventeen, John gives an extensive account of Jesus’ teaching at the Last Supper, in which Jesus builds on his teachings so far and leads his disciples to a greater understanding of the love that they must share and of the way ahead [ … ]

Preparations For The Last Supper | Judas’ Treachery Announced

In these Bible verses, Matthew recounts the betrayal by Judas in a slightly different way from yesterday’s reading from the Gospel of John. Firstly, we see Judas go to the chief priests to see what they will give him to betray his Lord. This is calculating treachery, the love of money putting such evil into Judas’ heart as will outweigh all love and all obligation. Through Judas, we see the absolute evil to which greed and the love of money can drive a person [ … ]

Treachery Of Judas | Disciples’ Desertion Foretold | Tuesday Of Holy Week

This is the third day of Holy Week. Through these verses of John’s Gospel, Jesus experiences great emotion, great sorrow, as he prepares for his betrayal and passion. He has given everything to Judas. He has washed his feet along with those of the other disciples. He shares an intimate and important meal with him. Judas has been one of the closest with Jesus for three years. Even now he shows compassion and does not name his betrayer to the other disciples. Instead he says: ‘One of you shall betray me.’ [ … ]

Mary Anoints Jesus At Bethany | Monday Of Holy Week

As we have heard in our Palm Sunday reading, Mary anoints Jesus. In John’s account, she anoints Jesus’ feet and wipes them with her hair. This is a sign of great love and humility, which Jesus will offer to his followers in John’s account of the Last Supper. The ointment she uses is very precious, costing a year’s wages for a labouring man, and the whole house is filled with the beautiful scent [ … ]

Parable Of The Invited Guests

The Jews of Christ’s time thought of the coming of the Messiah and the restoration of Israel in terms of a great banquet, where poverty would give way to plenty and conflict to fellowship. Jesus has told two parables, while he dines at the house of the leader of the Pharisees, one of the choice of places at a feast and one of inviting the sick and the poor. In the light of the parables, a guest at the meal is moved to express the hope of the coming of the Messiah [ … ]

Palm Sunday | Passion And Crucifixion Of Jesus Christ | From The Gospel Of Saint Mark

Jesus has come to Jerusalem before, but previously he has not wanted to be recognized as the Messiah. Now he accepts the acclaim of the crowd and presents himself triumphantly. He chooses a fine young donkey to carry him, an honest beast of burden, and in so doing he recalls the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, telling us that the Messiah will enter Jerusalem on a donkey [ … ]

The Servants Await Their Master | A Parable

Jesus tells us to be vigilant. In Christ’s time, when the Jews would usually wear long, flowing garments, it was the practice to hitch them up, to gird oneself, in order to be ready to perform certain kinds of work. To gird oneself, therefore, and to keep lights burning, meant to be ready for action. Before the flight from Egypt, at the moment of the Passover, the Israelites had to gird themselves, to be ready to be able to leave immediately (Exodus 12:11) [ … ]

Parable of the Master and the Steward

The parable teaches us that we must be ready, because we do not know when Christ will come to us, for the final account of our lives. This is a warning, edging our lives with the unpredictable. One positive effect of this parable is that it helps us to remain alert to the present moment. While it is easy to allow our thoughts to drift from where we are here and now, to recall the past, to worry or hope for the future, or to slip into daydreams and fantasy altogether, it is when we bring our attention to this very moment of time that we find sharpness, significance, and vibrancy in our life. We may realise just how extraordinary this great gift of life truly is, and feel empowered to live well and offer ourselves wholly to God. When we are attentive to this moment in time we may walk with Jesus [ … ]

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

The Galileans Herod has had killed have not behaved any better or worse than other people; they were not worse sinners than whose to whom Jesus addresses his words. God does not always punish sinners in this life. Accidents and acts of brutality may constitute no particular moral judgement. We are sinners. We stand in need of God’s mercy. We must repent [ … ]

Parables Of The Mustard Seed And Of The Leaven

The two parables make it clear that Christ intended the newly inaugurated phase of the history of our salvation to be the work of ages. His second coming was not to be an apocalyptic end of the world as we know it in weeks, months or just a few years after that first Easter. The world’s faith would grow with time. Christ’s Church would grow, to encompass the whole world. Christ intended the Gospel be preached to everyone the world over and through all subsequent history [ … ]

Parable Of The Rich Fool

In the clamour of people crowding to be near to Jesus, one man comes to Jesus with a problem which is entirely his own and has nothing to do with his or anyone’s spiritual life. He asks Jesus to use his influence to solve a family dispute about material possessions, the family inheritance, by telling his brother to divide the inheritance fairly [ … ]

Parables Of The Hidden Treasure, The Pearl, And The Net

The three parables follow one upon another, and they are addressed in Matthew’s Gospel to the disciples, rather than to the crowds. The parables of the hidden treasure and of the pearl clearly develop upon the same theme, and then the parable of the net follows and expands upon their meaning, magnifying it, while also relating to the disciples’ apostolic mission. We are taught through each parable of the supreme value of the gift of grace and of the Kingdom, and also of judgement, the rightful valuing of our gifts such that we live in accordance with God’s will [ … ]

Parable Of The Two Sons

The parable of the two sons is clearly, and explicitly, an attack by Jesus upon the chief priests and the elders of the Jewish people. In the parable, Jesus places before the Jewish authorities an astonishingly blunt analogy of their rejection of God the Father and of Jesus. There is no room for quibbling or intellectual sophistry here: one son does what his father wants; the other says he will and then doesn’t [ … ]

The Lamp Under A Bushel

We are called as Christians not only to love God and to offer our days to Him, but also to shine as a living example to the people we meet each day. We are called to that apostolate which is a part of being a Christian, to proclaim the truth of Christ to the world. There are all sorts of ways in which we can approach this mission. There are those who feel called to preach the Gospel aloud in busy streets, asking passers by to pause for a moment and listen to the word of God. For others, it might seem a brave act to say to a person who might not know us very well, in the course of conversation: I am a Christian [ … ]

Parable Of The Wicked Tenants

Jesus offers the parable of the wicked tenants as part of a larger discourse in which he responds, in the Temple, to the challenge of the scribes and the elders of the people concerning his authority. The parable leads the entrenched Jewish authorities to see the truth for themselves and yet still to reject the truth about themselves. Though their lives could have been enlightened by the parable, they refuse conversion and rather seek to arrest Jesus. They have the option to choose good; they choose evil [ … ]

Parable Of The Pounds

Jesus’ listeners continue to think that Jesus is journeying to Jerusalem there to inaugurate an earthly, political Kingdom of God, to expel the Roman power and restore an only ever briefly realized independent nation state in the Promised Land. Jesus speaks this parable, which is similar to the parable of the talents, in order to teach his disciples that they are not very soon to see an instant transformation in the world and that they have a lot of work to do. Their calling is not to be to lord it over others; it is to serve and do the utmost with the gifts they have received through walking with Jesus, to magnify the faith and preach the Gospel to the whole world [ … ]

Parable Of The Pharisee And The Tax Collector

This is among the most perfect of the parables to listen to during Lent – indeed, it has resonances that must extent to each and every time we receive the Eucharist. We are simply not worthy. And God’s mercy extends to us nonetheless. The prayer of the Pharisee is false. It is not true prayer. We see him, standing there in the presence of God and congratulating himself, as if he does not need God for his redemption, as if he can redeem himself [ … ]

Parable Of The Unforgiving Servant

There are people who say: I forgive, but I do not forget. Why? we may ask. Of what use is this? It is as if we were to attach a condition to our forgiveness, saying, in effect, that we forgive up to a point, but that our forgiveness is not total. Our forgiveness comes with a threat: Your crime is noted. We are really saying: we don’t forgive you all [ … ]

Parable Of Lazarus And The Rich Man

Jesus speaks in parables when he has something important to communicate. The meaning of a parable may seem obscure or in need of explanation. Jesus does give interpretations of the parables to his disciples. We are encouraged through the parables to see our world in new and perhaps unexpected ways. The parables encourage us to think more deeply about Jesus’ teaching. They are, above all, a challenge – even an anarchic challenge – to everything we think we know [ … ]

Parable Of The Good Shepherd 2

Jesus links the symbolic imagery of the sheep, the shepherd and the sheepfold with the Temple and the Jewish authorities, and with their abuse of the Jewish people. In Bible times, it was the custom at night to bring a number of flocks of sheep into the protected area of the sheepfold, then at dawn the shepherds would each call to his own flock, and the sheep would recognize the voice of their particular shepherd and gather about him. Jesus has come to us as the one good shepherd who will unify all flocks to create one flock, one human family. We may also understand these verses as suggesting the role of those who minister for people spread all over the world in their various localities. Christ’s message now is that the sheepfold has been corrupted, specifically by the Temple authorities [ … ]

Parables Of Jesus | Parable Of The Marriage Feast

In the parable of the marriage feast, Jesus continues to attack the scribes and the Pharisees, the Jewish authorities, who have found themselves threatened by Jesus and who reject him. It is a bold and dangerous message to those who have established power in the Jewish community. Jesus could hardly be telling them more clearly that they have got it wrong, that they were called, by God, long, long ago, and yet they have rejected God’s invitation, that, for all their trappings of piety, they are not with God; they have rejected Him [ … ]

Parables Of Jesus | The Parable Of The Ten Virgins – Or The Wise and Foolish Virgins

It may seem strange to the modern Christian that Christ should have so earnestly told his disciples to remain on high alert for his coming. Jesus does not speak of a repeat Nativity, of his coming once again being in the form of a vulnerable infant, humbled by the obscurity of the place of his birth. Nor does it seem that those of the elect who live to witness his coming might be easily deceived by the false claims of others to be the Messiah. Rather Jesus’ return is to be unmistakeable. He will come in ‘clouds of glory’. This will be an apocalypse. No one knows when this will be, but we feel it is imminent [ … ]

Parables Of Jesus | The Parable of the Talents

We are taught to use the great gifts God has given us, not to bury our abilities, to take risks, not to be afraid of your Master, to work the gifts we have received to bear fruit for God and the Kingdom, to open ourselves fully to God in the spirit of the New Law, then the Kingdom will grow and welcome all of us.
In the Parable of the Talents, the gifts each servant receives are not identical [ … ]

Parables Of Jesus | The Parable Of The Prodigal Son

The parable of the prodigal son is among the most famous of the parables which Jesus teaches us. Indeed the phrase ‘prodigal son’ is familiar to English speakers who might not tend to read the Bible very often if at all. In the parable of the prodigal son, the story Jesus tells is so homely and familiar to our lives, and to our most basic human and family instincts, that even without the deeper meanings as we interpret the parable, it would be powerfully moving to hear as a tale of estrangement and difficulty followed by forgiveness and reconciliation through love [ … ]

Parable of the Unjust Steward

Today’s parable may seem to us to be very strange. Fired for corruption, for being wasteful with the rich man’s property, the dishonest steward goes on to compound the error with outright criminality, marking down the debts of the rich man’s debtors in order to secure future favours. And Jesus praises him! [ … ]