Doing it my way

I have just had a cataract operation and now enjoy the clarity of vision so many report after such a procedure. It is amazing and, in my case, I no longer wear the glasses that have been my constant companion for more than seventy years.

“The eyes of his understanding began to be opened.” These words, from the life of Ignatius of Loyola as he told it to one of his companions, came to me in the days of my convalescence. He heard the same scriptures Sunday after Sunday but now they meant something different. He began to see a greater picture than was available to him before.

The dynamic of study of Scripture over the past 70 years means, that ‘eye opening’, is available to all of us today. Scholars have blazed a path for the rest of us to a much deeper understanding of what Jesus wanted when he tirelessly travelled the roads of Galilee preaching and giving “signs” of the approaching reign of God. This Sunday’s parable, for instance, would find no place in a text book devoted to economics. Workers who only arrived at the eleventh hour receive the same salary as those who sweated all day. It makes no sense.

Yet, for Jesus, this is an unequivocal statement, about the breaking in of the kingdom of God in the world. Those who are last will receive the same blessings as those who arrived long ago. Clearly it is aimed at the Jewish leaders for a start – those who took pride in being children of Abraham. Butr status or title makes no difference in the new era already present in Jesus’ time, Are you doing the will of the Father? That is all that matters. You may not even know you are doing it or you may have only come to it at the last minute. It doesn’t matter. Are you doing it? If you are you are blessed.

Jesus overturns – not only the money tables in the temple but – all the prejudices and suppositions of his age and of any age. We can turn away from the late-comers, the no-gooders, the “tax collectors and sinners” and all on the margins of our society, but Jesus doesn’t,

There is still so much conscious and unconscious discrimination – they are not “one of us” – in our societies; we have still some way to go before our eyes are opened and we can welcome those who come at the eleventh hour with the same enthusiasm as those who devoted their whole life to the announcing of the kingdom coming among us..

24 September 2017                  Sunday 25 A

Isaiah 55:6-9                            Philippians 1:20-24                  Matthew 20:1-16

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