Tag Archives: Twenty-sixth Sunday

Jesus shock – cutting off hands and tearing out eyes!

Twenty Sixth Sunday

Who was this outsider that he’d figured out the significance, if not the identity, of Jesus?

“But he’s not one of us” the disciples complain.

He wasn’t part of the twelve. He didn’t have the benefit of sharing intimately in Jesus inner circle. Yet here he is, ministering in the power of Jesus.

Here we glimpse the wonder of the Father’s revelation which is always capable of catching us offside so to speak. The Father is full of surprises!

Jesus corrects his inner circle; he may not be one of us in the sense that he’s not physically present in this group, but he knows me… and that’s all he needs.

Essentially this passage is teaching us that Jesus is everything, that knowing and recognizing him is everything – not the group we belong to – and that giving a cup of water to someone just because she belongs to Christ is hugely significant because the giving of the water is really about the recognition of Jesus.

The recognition of Jesus is everything.

But then Jesus turns his attention to sin, to the power that is his absolute opposite.

That he swings so suddenly – almost violently – to bring up his opposite suggests he wants us to hear what he has to say.

It’s Jesus shock!

It’s shock tactics so he can get our attention – “thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck… cut off your hand… tear out your eye…”

It’s a shocking message, hyperbole obviously, but nonetheless a very simple message that Jesus really wants us to hear.

Do not sin.

Sin – without repentance – is the highway to hell!

Twenty-sixth Sunday: The compassion of God didn’t leave sinners where they were

God is at work because tax collectors (extortionists) and prostitutes are changing their way of life.

Matthew 21:28-32

Jesus compares the people he’s speaking to – the Jewish religious leaders – to a son who says he’ll go and work in his father’s vineyard but then doesn’t go. Jesus accuses them of partaking in religion but in a way that doesn’t lead them into the kingdom of God (the kingdom of God is nothing more than God ruling your heart).

So here Jesus reveals the purpose of religion; that our hearts are ruled by God. This is the most important detail about every person’s existence; that each enters the kingdom of God.

On the other hand Jesus compares the tax collectors and prostitutes to a son who says to his father; “no, I will not go and work in your vineyard” but afterwards thinks better of it and goes, and the proof is clear for the Jewish religious leaders to see – the very public sinners were changing their lives; Zacchaeus declares to Jesus that he’ll pay back those he’s cheated four times the amount (Luke 19:8) and the woman “who had a bad name” sat weeping at his feet before kissing and anointing them with oil (Luke 7:36-38).

Jesus says this alone should have been enough to convince the Jewish leaders that God was working through him and indeed through John.

Here Jesus gives us the ultimate test to establish if God is present or not in a person’s life – “you will be able to tell them (true disciples) by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). Where God is present certain types of behaviour follow, where God is not present other types of behaviour follow. But who decides what’s in and what’s out?

The present generation has great difficulty with some of this and wants to change it – much of it a sure sign of living outside the kingdom. Changing this is the spiritual equivalent of changing the laws of physics! It’s impossible.

When a man (or woman) begins to enter Gods kingdom (remember the definition – God ruling our hearts) he discovers the reality of sin, he doesn’t need convincing, more importantly his own sin begins to bother him, and if he continues to make his way into Gods kingdom he will change and be changed. It’s actually entry into the kingdom of God that decides what’s in and what’s out. The more you enter the more the Catechism makes sense.

This is what happened to the tax collectors and prostitutes. The compassion of God didn’t leave them where they were – and it didn’t want to leave the religious leaders where they were either. Too often today people understand the compassion of God to mean the acceptance of sin!

The compassion of God is grace or graces that change us inside (interior) and as we are changed inside we are changed outside (exterior) – our behaviour changes from the inside out. It’s precisely because we’re becoming a new person that our lifestyle choices change.

The religious leaders should have known this, they should have known that wherever the kingdom of God is present, there you find repentance and conversion. That they didn’t recognize this means that they had not entered the kingdom of God themselves.

This is a problem that persists to this day – too many speak of religion and God from a position outside the kingdom of God. The result is the blind leading the blind!