Ordinary Time - Sundays 18 to 26 - Scripture Soundings
In Matthew, we find Jesus conducting a mobile class without walls. His prime students are the disciples, all eager but slow learners. So Jesus uses parables to help them understand the treasures he is offering. He nurtures and sustains them by showing the importance of sharing what they have, no matter how little it is. His feeding miracle is almost matter-of-fact--no big deal--a model for what can be for those with faith.
Jesus then tests that faith in his students, and finds it not all that buoyant. Peter is the most willing. He takes the plunge, but ends up all wet. Even so, faith is tested and all the disciples find themselves in the same boat, having learned an important lesson about faith.
Jesus knew that from their infancy his followers had been taught to consider themselves "insiders" and all others, all non-Jews, outsiders. Jesus turns his encounter with the Canaanite woman into a lesson for "unlearning" closed-mindedness and closed-heartedness and for learning the openness of God.
When difficult questions ensue concerning Jesus' identity, Peter rises to the occasion and comes up with the perfect answer. Jesus responds by affirming Peter's rock-like faith and establishing his Church upon that firm foundation. When Peter tries to teach the Teacher, however, Jesus rebuffs him with a more profound teaching about his mission and about what is required of those who would share it with him.
Jesus goes on to teach about the common welfare of those who follow him, showing his disciples how to love one another, even if that love has to be tough love. As Jesus teaches his followers to forgive and forgive, he reveals the crux of Christianity and explains it in a parable intended to eradicate terms like "earn" or "deserve" from the vocabulary of his followers.
As summer turns into autumn, let's remember that school is open. Now is the time to pay attention to the Teacher.
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Ordinary Time - Scripture Soundings - Cycle A
It Is I
Jews and Gentiles
Who Am I?
A Living Sacrifice
Love and Reconciliation
Mercy and Forgiveness
The Mind of Christ
Updated: May 11, 2008