17th Sunday of the Year (A)

Gospel    (Matthew 13: 44-52)

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are of no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’

17a

The Deep End – Treasures and Pearls

In the immediate aftermath of the horrific bomb attack in Manchester on 22 May this year, the hashtag #roomformanchester began to trend on social media. In the midst of the chaos and terror, locals were opening up their homes and hearts to anyone who had been affected by the incident and was in need of help. People who lived nearby offered food or a cuppa, a place to charge phones, or a bed for the night. Hotels took in dozens of children and teenagers who had been separated from their parents. Taxi drivers offered free lifts, and others offered to drive those who had been stranded home to surrounding areas. People began to queue up at donor banks to give blood to help those injured in the attack. In the face of an evil and senseless act that inflicted so much pain, kindness and goodness shone through.

Difficult times often bring out the best in people. We see it in the way friends rally around a bereaved family, or communities raise money to help a sick child. There are treasures in our people and our communities that we could never put a price on. Jesus talks today about hidden treasures and fine pearls, and prompts the question – what is most important to us, and what are we willing to sacrifice for it? Sometimes treasures like compassion and love are there for all to see, and other times they are hidden or buried and we have to go in search of them, and to remember to bring them to others. The kingdom of God is always close at hand and within each of us.

Triona Doherty in Intercom (c) Veritas Publications 2017

Prayer 
God of eternal wisdom,
you alone impart the gift of right judgement.
Grant us an understanding heart,
that we may value wisely
the treasure of your kingdom
and gladly forgo all lesser gifts
to possess that kingdom’s incomparable joy.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

(c) 1998 International Committee on English in the Liturgy Corporation


Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat

16th Sunday of the Year (A)

This Sunday’s Gospel recounts the parable of the weeds and the wheat:

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Jesus put another parable before the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn”.’  (Matthew 13: 24-30)

Perhaps this video sheds a little light on the parable.  It’s from a film called ‘Front of the Class’ by Brad Cohen:


Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

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For the rain that seeps into the pores of the earth and the crevices of our being, we give thanks to you.

For the sun that coaxes forth the potential of our beings, we give thanks to you.

For the stars that beckon us into the depths of your mystery, we give thanks to you.

For the song that whispers from the trees to caress our spirits, we give thanks to you.

For the laughter of children, the guffaws of old men, (the cackling of old women!) and all the ways you disrupt the creases forming across our brows, we give thanks to you.

For the tenderness of hands that hold broken hearts, and the arms that embrace us when sorrow seeps from our souls, we give thanks to you.

For the thoughtful counsel, the provocative point of view, the different opinion and the comment that stops us in our tracks, we give thanks to you.

For the glitter of joy, the sadness born of love, and all the ways you remind us of your presence, we give thanks to you.

We give thanks, we give thanks, we give thanks.  

By Anne Fraley
An Episcopal priest serving Grace Church, Broad Brook, Connecticut, US


Warrington Walking Day

Some pictures from this year’s Walking Day courtesy of Mr Alan Spencer

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