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Canon Millett asked the School to start writing an explanation for children of the Gospel of the week, as it may not always be easy to identify the message within the scripture.
A weekly edition of 'The Core Sheet' is distributed to the Parish Youth at: 'The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary' (St Mary's Church)
A selection of previous commentaries are found below.
'The Core' Commentary: (Matthew 21: 33-43)
The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. 'They will respect my son,' he said. "But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance.' So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him
Now, we all know Jesus loved to tell a parable – He is known as ‘The Storyteller’ after all. However, having heard today’s Gospel, you may think this was quite a gruesome tale to share.
I thought like this until I reflected on tales from my childhood and how they weren’t exactly all sweetness and light:
- The thieving child taunting creatures (Goldilocks)
- The demise of a friend of the King (Humpty Dumpty)
- The cannibalistic witch (Hansel & Gretel)
…..the list goes on and on.
In this story that Jesus told, the landowner represents God. God first sent men such as Noah, Moses, David, the prophet Isaiah, and others to tell people of his love for them and to call them to turn away from their wicked ways, but many would not listen!
Then the parable becomes prophetic (forewarning) of what is to come.
As we are all well aware, God then finally sent His own Son, Jesus, to once again tell people to turn away from wicked sin. To bring his father’s message, Jesus goes to the temple courts.
The events leading up to this had seen Jesus go to the temple courts to teach but while he is teaching, the chief priest and elders confront him, wanting to know by whose authority he was teaching. They did not like the fact Jesus answers with a question…nor his answer
However, we need to recall (as discussed last week) that today’s parable follows on from Jesus’ tale of the workers in the vineyard.
At the end of ‘The Parable of the Wicked Tenants’
Jesus asks the question:
- What will the owner do to the evil tenants?
By asking this question, Jesus is forcing the religious leaders and priests to determine their own miserable fate, as of course - they don’t believe in Jesus!
This verse is also prophetic as it links to Psalm 118 Verse 22:
The stone (Jesus) that the builders (leaders of Israel)rejected (crucified) has become the cornerstone (gateway to Heaven)
The key for me to understand this parable and what it says about the religious leaders - is found in verse 43. Jesus tells the leaders that because of their disobedience and rejection, they will be left out of the Kingdom of Heaven (individually and as a people).
Being told this, is more than some of those who are listening can tolerate. This statement furthers their fury and becomes another nail in Jesus’ cross.
So, how do we apply this parable to our lives?
Well, we all believe in Christ and are followers of Jesus but what have we done in our lives to show that we are his followers?
Are we like the bad tenants? Do we reject Jesus’ Word and way of life? If there are times when we do – it’s OK, we are only human after all. Knowing this, Jesus is there to help us and guide us. So, we must pray for forgiveness….and go to confession!
Children today have a new phrase – YOLO – and it translates as You Only Live Once. Now, this is indeed the case but what we do with our life will decide as to whether it becomes….an Eternal one!
'The Core' Commentary: (John 6:51 - 58)
Sometimes when I read the biblical text prior to writing the weekly edition of The Core, it makes almost perfect sense to me….honest! This is due to the fact that the intent of the author seems fairly obvious which allows me to get a good feeling about what I am reading and more appropriately….what I am attempting to explain.
However, when it came to reflecting on this week's text – another making reference to ‘Jesus and bread’ – I found myself anxious as to whether I would just be repeating myself. Therefore, I decided that there must be another meaning to the scripture.
So then, let’s first of all think about food, particularly the old fashioned food group pyramid posters (Google it). The food pyramid was developed to help us know what foods we should eat as way to help us grow strong, healthy bodies. All the food groups are present in the pyramid: grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and dairy, meat, and fats and sweets.
Now, the largest part of the pyramid is foods that we make from grain. Most of the things we make from grain not only taste good, but they are good for us too and surprise, surprise, one of those things we make - is bread!
Bread has always been considered to be one of our most important foods. Back in Biblical times, bread was very important to life. I’m sure we all can recount the time God provided bread for the Israelites when they were starving in the desert? As well as this, we of course remember when Jesus fed the 5000 with just five loaves of bread and two small fish.
Still not convinced by the significance of bread? Well, think back to how Jesus taught his disciples to pray? He taught them to say:
"Give us this day our daily bread."
See, bread is, and always has been, a very important part of life. However, a loaf of bread won’t last forever because of the simple fact that it gets old and stale. The reason for this is because of the environment it is in and how the different external factors make it get old and stale. I will come back to this point a little bit later on.
Also, when we eat bread, we are satisfied for a little while but then we become hungry again. Even though Jesus knew that bread was very important to life, he wanted something more for his followers; he wanted something that would last forever!
Scripture reminds us today how Jesus said:
"I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
If we want to live, we need bread.
If we want to live forever, we need Jesus - the Bread of Life.
For us to have a chance to consume this bread – Jesus had to give his flesh and we are all well aware of what that meant for Jesus. Now, I mentioned earlier, the environment the bread is placed in makes it become stale. Unfortunately, this is what can also make our bread of life stale. The world we live in – our environment – can be very quick to tell us how strange we are to have faith or how uncool we are to go to church. Sometimes, this environment, which is attempting to make our ‘bread of life’ stale, can even be a little closer to home.
We may have to protect the freshness of our ‘bread of life’ from people we encounter daily – I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
No one ever said that being a Catholic would be easy. We have faith, morals and a code to live by to make us all better people. So thank goodness for the calm and peace we feel after consuming the Eucharist at Holy Communion. This bread gives us our strength for our daily life. Although, after a while the host is consumed - the bread of life lasts forever.
'The Core' Commentary: (Matthew 28:16 - 20)
It’s always important to follow instructions. When I was younger, one of my jobs was to unload the dishwasher. I knew it needed to be unloaded but would always try to put it off and say I would get round to it eventually.I wonder how many of you experienced (or still do experience) moments in your life when you heard something like:
While I am away I would like you to clean your room and complete your homework.”
Some of you reading this may be the kind of person who would get to work right away. Some of you may put off the instruction and do what you want as you have the mistaken belief that you had plenty of time until ‘the person’ will be back to check on your work.
So, when ‘the person’ does return, did you do as you were instructed?
Jesus gave his followers many instructions. We are told clearly that if we obey his instructions, we will be rewarded. However, we are also aware that by failing to obey Jesus’ instructions, we will miss out on the blessings and rewards God has for us in this life…and one day in heaven!
The disciples experienced many emotions in the days following Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross. How do you think they must have felt when Jesus was arrested and nailed to a cross where he would die?
Well, as we know, three days after Jesus died, news of The Resurrection spread quickly among those who loved him.
During the forty days which followed, Jesus proved that he was really alive and he taught about God’s Kingdom.
Matthew 28:16 tells us that the eleven disciples (we all sadly know why there were no longer twelve) were gathered at the Mount of Olives because Jesus had told them to meet him there.
The disciples obeyed Jesus’ instructions and waited for him at the Mount of Olives.
Something to consider here is the fact that this was a public place so it is possible that there were many other people around as well.
When Jesus met them at the Mount of Olives, the people in the crowd reacted in two ways. There were people who believed in Jesus and worshiped him and people who did not believe in Jesus so they had doubts about who he really was
As Jesus meets with his disciples on the Mount of Olives, he knows that his time to return to his heavenly Father is close. He will be leaving this earth soon so he gives his disciples some very important final…instructions.
Go out and share the Good News about how I died on the cross for your sins, was buried and was raised from the dead on the third day… teach people how to be followers and obey my commandments.
Since Jesus knew that the disciples would grow disheartened when he returned to heaven, he tried to reassure them that he was not abandoning them with this wonderful promise:
I am with you always to the very end of the age.
Jesus promised the disciples that God was going to send the gift of the Holy Spirit. God’s Holy Spirit would live inside the heart of each of Jesus’ disciples. With the Holy Spirit living inside of us, Jesus’ presence is always with us.
Let’s all remember to pray for our Confirmation Candidates as their special day gets ever closer.
Now, let’s consider how the disciples must have tried to listen attentively to every word Jesus said but then as they looked at their Saviour and listened, they saw him begin to float away from them - up in the air!
Scripture tells us that the disciples stayed gazing up into the sky - looking for Jesus until two men dressed in white stood beside them. They had a message - the promise that one day Jesus would return to the earth just as he left. So, the disciples went back to the upper room, in Jerusalem and devoted themselves to prayer. They had work to do. . .
Jesus gave his disciples clear instructions before he left them and it was important that they obeyed Jesus’ instructions. They did not ‘put it off’ as our being here at church today proves.
We need to follow the example set by the disciples. We too must share with others the Good News about Jesus. It may not always be easy….but try not to put it off.