Saturday, 25 July 2020 13:00

Holding on & letting go

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17OTAWeb300What would you be prepared to do to see life return to normal, the pandemic ended, freedoms restored? That’s the question being put to us every day in this experience. Some people don’t want to let go of anything, don’t want to wear masks, don’t want to socially distance, just want to hold on to what they did before the virus. The issue of holding on and letting go is very much at the heart of the Gospel this Sunday.

What would we be prepared to let go of in order to abandon ourselves into the reign of God’s grace within us? What might be possible if we did? These are bold questions to ask in times of vulnerability.

There are three parables in this Sunday’s Gospel as Jesus compares life in the kingdom of God to treasure hidden in a field, to a merchant on the lookout for fine pearls and to a fisherman’s dragnet which brings in a very mixed catch.

In the first parable someone stumbles across the treasure by chance. Sometimes that can happen to us, too. We are happily living our lives when, by chance, something happens or we meet someone and our lives change for ever. On reflection we discern the presence of God in that encounter. Our lives have changed, some say for ever, due to coronavirus. Where is the presence of God in this awful experience?

In the second parable the Kingdom is found after a long search. It is a reassurance that those who seek always find, and those who knock on the door will always have it opened. How are we going to manage to live through this crisis?

The third parable introduces a note of reality: the Kingdom is a mixture of all kinds of things and some sorting out is needed. That feels very much like our experience right now – a mixed bag of horror, grief and uncertainty, and hope, care and extraordinary generosity in looking after each other especially the most vulnerable.

The purpose of parables is not to provide answers to questions but to get us to think.

The Kingdom of God is not a ‘thing’ or a ‘place’. It is an experience or an encounter with the life of God which is already within us.

In the life and ministry of Jesus many people experienced the Kingdom through their encounter with him which brought dignity, love, forgiveness, release from illness, disability, guilt, shame and even death. Jesus made present the reign of God’s grace for people in all kinds of need.

The people of the kingdom seek the things that are of real value in life. They face the struggle of trying to figure out what to let go of and what to hold on to. They live their lives with virtue, wisdom and good hearts, and their lives are a blessing for others. They never stop seeking the things of real value in life, and they never stop making God present for those around them.

Join us in celebrating at home this Sunday using the links below.

pdf Celebrating At Home for 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time PDF (243 KB)
default Celebrating At Home for 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time iPhone & iPad (765 KB)

pdf Lectio Divina for 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time PDF (250 KB)  
default Lectio Divina for 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time iPhone & iPad (857 KB)

 

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