It was the stone rejected by the builders that became the keystone.
A very warm welcome to all to Hearers of the Word for Sunday, 4 October 2020.
1.Supersessionism and complacency
Today’s parable of the wicked tenants conceals two traps for contemporary Christian readers.
The first of these is “supersessionism,” the idea that the Christian faith replaces and renders inoperative (somehow) the Jewish faith. This is clearly condemned in Catholic teaching. See the most recent Vatican document on relations with the Jews: “The gifts and call of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29.” The parable could then be the occasion for a reflection on the healthy relationship with the Jewish people since Vatican II and the alarming rise of anti-semitism, even in Ireland.
The second trap may be more more insidious. As we listen to the parable, we might think that it does not apply to us at all as Christian believers today. Instead it applies to the time of Jesus or to the time of Matthew, locked safely in the past. It is about them and not about us…but that would be big mistake.
As we behold (at least in Ireland) the failure in handing on the faith today and the current collapse of church due to Covid-19, we are surely the tenants who have not brought in the harvest. Read in this way — as a critical assessment of where we find ourselves — the parable is a sharp warning to wake up, to get away from mere “cultic maintenance” and to get back to the basic proclamation of the Good News. No shortage of material for reflection here! The poem below by Malcolm Guite might be useful.
The YouTube exploration offers a more developed contemporary context.
The YouTube videos are intended to be a fresh exploration of the Gospel, with an eye to spiritual, pastoral and practical concerns.
3. Francis (by Malcolm Guite)
‘Francis rebuild my church which, as you see
Is falling into ruin.’ From the cross
Your saviour spoke to you and speaks to us
Again through you. Undoing set you free,
Loosened the traps of trappings, cast away
The trammelling of all that costly cloth
We wind our saviour in. At break of day
He set aside his grave-clothes. Your new birth
Came like a daybreak too, naked and true
To poverty and to the gospel call,
You woke to Christ and Christ awoke in you
And set to work through all your love and skill
To make our ruin good, to bless and heal
To wake the Christ in us and make us whole.
4. Charity cycle
Thanks to all who contributed. The final amount is over €12k, which is wonderful.
Wishing you all every blessing in the week to come,
Dr Kieran J. O’Mahony OSA
Biblical Studies Coordinator