Monday, 29 February 2016

Lent 3. 2016 29th February-A prophet calls out to us

29th February
(C) Br. Luke 2010

Scripture: Luke 4: 24-30
24 He said, “Most certainly I tell you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25  But truly I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land. 26  Elijah was sent to none of them, except to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27  There were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed, except Naaman, the Syrian.”
28 They were all filled with wrath in the synagogue, as they heard these things. 29 They rose up, threw him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill that their city was built on, that they might throw him off the cliff. 30 But he, passing through the middle of them, went his way.

A prophet calls out to us. The Prophet asks us to face, and look at, that which we do not want to see, or hear. A prophet will make us uncomfortable, perhaps even angry. But these are our reaction to the prophet – not the prophets. When we strive to live a gospel centred life our actions can be seen as prophetic and we will then naturally present a challenge to those who see us. No wonder then, that as prophets we are often not welcome.  Do you agree?

Your thoughts:

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Lent 3. 2016 February 28th-Jesus would not be deterred

28th February
(C)Br Luke Efo 2010

Scripture: Luke 13: 31-35

31 On that same day, some Pharisees came, saying to him, “Get out of here, and go away, for Herod wants to kill you.”
32 He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I complete my mission. 33  Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the next day, for it can’t be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem.’
34  “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, like a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you refused! 35  Behold, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ “

Jesus would not be deterred from his task. He knew what he was to do, and where his earthly ministry would come to its end. We often are not so clear. We often adjust our ministries, to fit the situation, to fit the people, or perhaps to fit the community. I wonder, when we do this: Do we sense that we are fulfilled? Do we feel we have met our vocations, our call to the gospel life? Or do we feel we have “fallen short” somewhere?

Your thoughts:

Lent 2. 2016 February 27th - the Prodigal Son

27th February

(C)Br Luke Efo 2010

Scripture: Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming close to him to hear him. The Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.”
He told them this parable.
11 He said, “A certain man had two sons. 12  The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of your property.’ He divided his livelihood between them. 13  Not many days after, the younger son gathered all of this together and travelled into a far country. There he wasted his property with riotous living. 14  When he had spent all of it, there arose a severe famine in that country, and he began to be in need. 15  He went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16  He wanted to fill his belly with the husks that the pigs ate, but no one gave him any. 17  But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I’m dying with hunger! 18  I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. 19  I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.” ’
20  “He arose, and came to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21  The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22  “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23  Bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let’s eat, and celebrate; 24  for this, my son, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.’ Then they began to celebrate.
25  “Now his elder son was in the field. As he came near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26  He called one of the servants to him, and asked what was going on. 27  He said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and healthy.’ 28  But he was angry, and would not go in. Therefore his father came out, and begged him. 29  But he answered his father, ‘Behold, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed a commandment of yours, but you never gave me a goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30  But when this your son came, who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’
31  “He said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32  But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.’ ”

We have come to know this passages of scripture as the parable of the Prodigal Son.
The father was moved by compassion, by forgiveness and celebrated the return of the son he had thought was lost.  Notice the eldest son was still to inherit everything, the younger son was not going to have part of his brother’s estate given to him.  The father was not focused on material possessions- but the eldest son was.  The father had responded from love, the angry, eldest son from what he thought was his entitlement.
Are there times when we behave like the eldest son?

Your thoughts:

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Lent 2. February 26th- times in our lives

26th February
(C)Br. Luke Efo 2010
Scripture: Matthew 21: 33-46
33  “Hear another parable. There was a man who was a master of a household, who planted a vineyard, set a hedge about it, dug a wine press in it, built a tower, leased it out to farmers, and went into another country. 34  When the season for the fruit came near, he sent his servants to the farmers, to receive his fruit. 35  The farmers took his servants, beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they treated them the same way. 37  But afterward he sent to them his son, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38  But the farmers, when they saw the son, said amongst themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and seize his inheritance.’ 39  So they took him, and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40  When therefore the lord of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?”
41 They told him, “He will miserably destroy those miserable men, and will lease out the vineyard to other farmers, who will give him the fruit in its season.”
42 Yeshua said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures,
‘The stone which the builders rejected
was made the head of the corner.
This was from the Lord.
It is marvellous in our eyes?’
43  “Therefore I tell you, God’s Kingdom will be taken away from you, and will be given to a nation producing its fruit. 44  He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but on whomever it will fall, it will scatter him as dust.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he spoke about them. 46 When they sought to seize him, they feared the multitudes, because they considered him to be a prophet.

There are probably times in our lives when we are like the “wicked tenants”, And other times when we are the vineyard owner’s servants. What moves us from one group to another? The people we are with, some event that causes us to doubt/believe, an experience of grace, a loss, a miracle? The list is probably endless. Look back on your journey, see if you can find the times when you were a “wicked tenant”. Do you know why?

Your thoughts:

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Lent 2. February 25th - If they don’t listen to Moses

February 25th

(C) Br. Luke Efo  2010

Scripture: Luke 16: 19-31
19  “Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, living in luxury every day. 20  A certain beggar, named Lazarus, was taken to his gate, full of sores, 21  and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Yes, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22  The beggar died, and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried. 23  In Sheol, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his bosom. 24  He cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue! For I am in anguish in this flame.’
25  “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you, in your lifetime, received your good things, and Lazarus, in the same way, bad things. But here he is now comforted, and you are in anguish. 26  Besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that those who want to pass from here to you are not able, and that no one may cross over from there to us.’
27  “He said, ‘I ask you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house; 28  for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, so they won’t also come into this place of torment.’
29  “But Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them listen to them.’
30  “He said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
31  “He said to him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.’ ”
If they don't listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.’ Sometimes no matter what we say and do, people will still not want to listen or indeed to hear. They will not see or understand that the chasm which separated the rich man from Lazarus existed in life, and continued after death. While the rich man ignored the chasm in life, he could not do so in death. When he was alive, the rich man had a chance to be compassionate, to help Lazarus - but he chose to do the opposite. While it can be incredibly frustrating and distressing to see people ignore this chasm and ignore compassion, we can’t force them to listen and act.  So hand them over to God and allow the Spirit to do the work.  Can you?
Your thoughts: