Tag Archives: Matthew’s Gospel

Seventeenth Sunday Year A: Exposing the human heart

Parable of the hidden treasure Rembrandt

Rembrandt’s painting of the parable

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found…”

The treasure is Jesus.

He’s hidden. But God is hidden only to the degree of our spiritual progress.

The field is the Church.

So, Jesus is hidden in the Church.

The “someone” in the field is every single man and woman on the planet.

Finding the treasure is encountering Jesus.

Selling everything you own to buy the field has several meanings.

You must buy the field, you can’t steal the treasure. Cheating doesn’t work!

The treasure doesn’t come without the field. Jesus doesn’t come without the Church. You don’t just buy-in to the Church, you buy it! You give your life.

It’s a cost you’ll pay willingly, voluntarily, gladly, joyfully and expectantly, you’ll jump at it provided you can see the treasure… not unlike a business man selling so that he can buy to make a killing!

Using the parable what can we work out about those who’ve left the Church?

They were in the field but left it… perhaps they didn’t like something in the field, or someone, perhaps they couldn’t see anything but a bog…

However, according to the parable the real reason people leave the field is that they didn’t find the treasure. Perhaps they didn’t even know there was treasure in it – perhaps they still don’t know!

Simple. The whole God question is very simple, mysterious, but very simple.

Fifteenth Sunday Year A: The basic problem; he has no root in him!

The parables make God and our response to God very simple… because God in his essence is very simple and understanding our response to God is equally as simple.

The seeds fall in various qualities of soil.

Parable of the Sower Matthew 13:1-23

Parable of the Sower Matthew 13:1-23

Now, the first thing we need to understand is that Jesus is describing people – like you and I.

The various qualities of soil represent people and their response to God – and Jesus lists just four broad categories. Does every human response fall into at least one of the four categories?

For the purposes of today‘s homily it’s the second category that grabs my attention. Jesus describes some people as being like seed that “fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away.”

I’m sure you’ve often heard me say that I’ve always been a little perplexed by those who leave the Church, particularly by those who leave the Church citing the scandals as the reason. This makes no sense to me but it does point to a deeper truth – a truth which Jesus is suggesting here.

My immediate reaction has always been puzzlement expressed in a question; did they never encounter Christ in the Liturgy – even once, never mind every time or every other time they celebrate the Liturgy – knowing full well that if they had, leaving the Church would be like winning the lotto and failing to claim your winnings! It just doesn’t happen.

Well, here in today‘s Gospel Jesus is making a similar argument suggesting that the reason many people fall away is that they have no root.

This is what I mean when I say that people can come through the doors here for 40 years without ever encountering Christ… they have no root.

So when the sun comes up they’re scorched which means when they encounter trials such as the scandals they fall away – they’re scorched. Of course, Christ knew that this would happen – “obstacles are sure to come… better for him to be thrown into the sea… than that he should lead astray a single one…” Luke 17:1-3

Jesus lists three other categories of people but I’ll look only at one more – briefly.

Some seeds fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked them. When Jesus is asked to explain the thorns He says they represent the worries of this world and the lure of riches which choke the life of God out of us!

Now that’s most interesting because I’ve always believed that the basic difference between the believer and the unbeliever is how we spend our time. The most basic reason people do not believe and fall away… has to do with how we spend our time. If I spent my time like you spend yours, I wouldn’t believe either!

In conclusion, here in the parable of the sower Christ demolishes our arguments for falling away and for unbelief.

He makes it… simple!