Crises in the Middle East, in the national economy, and in the church set the stage for the question of God and the impossible, which is the main theme of this issue of The Immediate Word. In today's lectionary text the woman with the flow of blood and Jairus are in desperate need of help. How can we effectively bring hope to those who face similar situations in our communities?
Bad news seems to be inevitable these days, and in a world of media saturation, it is difficult, if not impossible, to get away from it. Yet, we are called to believe the "good news" of Jesus Christ. How can we hold onto the good news in a world where there seems to be no good news left? Richard Gribble, CSC, will write the main article, with Scott Suskovic providing the response. Illustrations, liturgical aids, and a children's sermon are also provided.
The Good News is Always Present Richard Gribble, CSC Romans 8:28-30
Every day in our lives is a series of decisions. While some may be trivial, others carry with them a great deal of weight. As Christians, how much impact does our faith have when it comes to how we make choices? As we wrestle with choices, do we wrestle with God as well? Richard Gribble, CSC, will write the main article, with Stephen McCutchan providing the response. Illustrations, liturgical aids, and a children's sermon are also provided.
It's Decision Time: God or the World? Richard Gribble, CSC Genesis 32:23-31
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's home and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee's home, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment.
Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
Then Jesus told them a parable about the need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had any respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, 'Grant me justice against my opponent.' For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, 'Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.' " And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says.
The apostles said to Jesus, "Increase our faith!" The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to the mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.
Jesus said, "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.
In this week’s lectionary gospel passage, Jesus tells a parable that at first glance seems antithetical to modern sensibilities. A vineyard owner is hiring day laborers to work in his fields, and early in the day he hires several workers at the usual going daily rate. Later in the day, the owner sees additional workers still standing at their gathering place, hoping for even a small job, and he tells them to go to the vineyard as well. Yet at the end of the day, the workers who labored for only a few hours receive a full day’s earnings.
Ron Love Mark Ellingsen Bonnie Bates Bob Ove Frank Ramirez Bill Thomas
“God will provide.” We’ve all heard that expression. Probably we’ve said it a few times too. Those are the easy parts, hearing it and saying it. Trusting that he will can be a different matter. I read the following story in a missionary magazine, and thought it would be a great way to illustrate this passage.
I heard a story once of a custodian who worked at a certain university. Among his responsibilities, he emptied the wastebaskets in the administration building where the president of the university had his office. The school underwent a change in presidents during this custodian’s time there, and he found that his experience of his job changed. “I didn’t mind emptying Dr. Wilson’s garbage,” he remarked, referring to the former president.
Recently I noticed in the media that the government are planning to give each teenager in England a gift of up to 10,000 pounds on reaching the age of eighteen. My first reaction was one of horror, imagining what most teenagers of my acquaintance would do with that kind of money!
So this fellow up in Sonoma County, not far from wine-growing Napa County, anxiously watched the weather forecast. Heavy rains of November were on the way across the Pacific. The grapes were mature and ready for harvest. Having no regular work crew, he went in to the union hall to get day laborers to do the picking. They agreed to work for ten dollars per hour. But the work didn't go fast enough and the sky was darkening with black clouds. Several times during the day he added more and more workers until the harvest was safely in the winery's barn.