Seventeenth Sunday Ordinary Time 2011 - Reflections Buried Treasures

1.The buried treasure in a field, 
2.The pearl of great price and 
3.The net thrown into the sea that brings in a rich harvest of both good and bad, from which this extract below is taken:

"Did you hear the one about the Southern Baptist minister who died and went to heaven's gate and when he met St. Peter, he said, I can't believe I'm finally here, please answer this question, I've been dying to know all my life, are there any Roman Catholics in heaven?

St. Peter looked into his great book and said, No, there ain’t no Roman Catholics here in heaven. 
The Southern Baptist minister gave a deep sigh of relief and asked, Are there any Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans or Presbyterians? 

St. Peter looked into his big book and said, No, none of these folks either. Now the Southern Baptist minister was really overjoyed and he asked just one more question.

Are there any Pentecostals or Assembly of God folks here? St. Peter looked in his book and shook his head and said, Nope - none of them either. 

Now the Southern Baptist minister was beside himself with glee and said, Well then, just take me to my Southern Baptist friends.

And St. Peter looked in his book and said, There ain’t none of them up here either. The Southern Baptist minister was shocked and asked St. Peter, Then who is in heaven? 

Just the children of God, St. Peter said, and the friends of Jesus, Abraham, Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius and the Great Spirit.............."

"The Parable of the Net Filled with Fish is very close to the parable of the Wheat and the Weeds. It’s a parable about the kingdom of God, about how good and evil exist side by side in the kingdom, in the "here and now" and come judgment day, at the end of time, good and evil will be separated and given their just rewards.

What the parable of the Net Filled with Fish tells us about God's kingdom is what the parable of the Wheat and Weeds doesn't, it is that come Judgment Day at the end of time, there will be people from every race, tribe, gender, class, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation in the kingdom of God. Come the final judgment, none of the aforementioned criteria will determine whether you are with God or not.

What will matter will be if you were a good, loving, forgiving, God-fearing, justice-seeking person SURPRISE! 

Jesus' Conclusion: The last two verses of this week's gospel is the concluding statement of Jesus' seven-parable discourse in chapter 13. He asks his disciples if they understand what they heard. They say yes.

Then Jesus tells them, "every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old"·

Unlike the scribes in the synagogues and the temple who rejected Jesus and his message, the scribes and leaders in the service of God's kingdom and the Jesus movement will be able to recall and put into practice the best of the traditions of their faith, and at the same time, call forth new ways and new interpretations of God's Word and Jesus' Way to meet any new challenges, our ever-changing human situation brings forth in the future.

In other words, Jesus is telling us that the best leadership for the Church will be leaders who can be both conservative and liberal, traditionalists and reformers. The best leaders are those who can strike the needed balance between competing polls and move the Church into the direction it needs to go for any given moment in history.

The fact is, after 2000 years of Church history, there seems to be little new or unique that the Church hasn't already done or experienced. We've done it all; we've been the saints and the sinners, the good guys and the bad guys. We've embraced the poor and the rich, the powerful and the powerless. We have fought against the "status quo"; we have been the "status quo". 

We have been pro-war and anti-war, nonviolent and violent. We've been the executioners; we've been the executed. We've been the keepers of the law and we've been the outlaws. We have identified heresies in every theological direction, and we have embraced theologies of every shape and form. 

We claim a unity and oneness, yet we are the most diverse and pluralistic faith community in the human family. The list is endless of what we as church have done and not done in the name of God. 

The challenge for Church leadership in any given moment in history is to know what to hold on to from the past, what to lift up for people to consider and what new things to embrace that best meet the needs of the Church in the here and now as we try to be the proclaimers of God's kingdom and followers in the ways of Jesus as best we can. 

And even though there seems to be nothing new under the stars that we as Church have not already tried, the Church and especially our Church leadership, must remain open to surprises, for it is only in surprises that the Holy Spirit continues to reveal the Divine and our way to heaven."

Gospel Matthew 13: 44-52

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 

 Above James Tissot Buried Treasure in a Field

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls. 
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. 

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind. 
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets. 
What is bad they throw away. 

Thus it will be at the end of the age. 
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

“Do you understand all these things?” 
They answered, “Yes.” 
And he replied,
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household
who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”


Phil Ewing said...

Thanks Jimmy- welcome; it's great to have you visit here  and thanks for the compliments
. I can't take credit for the writing of it but it's a found treasure - but then as a retired lecturer I am use to recycling the best of searches.!!

Rolheiser is always brilliant and the Southern Baptist reference in the second could be anyone : I think that's fairly obvious from the piece so I hope my American readers don't feel I am being prejudiced against Southern Baptists. Any of the religions could be inserted as a lead to the story. I'm really pleased you like it- it's hard finding stuff  that drives home a really good message but that also can make people laugh.

Where are you located ?  Deacon/priest/ lay worker - what are you ?!

I hope that now you've found me you will revisit and can I unashamedly invite you to become a regular follower  by signing up on the side bar?


Jimmy said...

I've just printed this week's church newsletter. I WISH that I had read this earlier and could have included it.