Friar Musings

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Oct 1

The One Rejected

laborers-in-the-field-11thcentbyzantineThe Traditional Interpretation. This interpretation holds that the parable is a symbolic account of the history of Israel, whose leadership (tenants of v.34) has rejected God’s earlier prophetic messengers (cf. Jer 7:25–27 seen in servants of vv.34-35). In v.37 the parable leaves Israel’s past and intuits the events of the Passion and Crucifixion that lay in the days to come. Indeed, the leaders…

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When vintage time draws near

When vintage time draws near

laborers-in-the-field-11thcentbyzantineCommentary. This parable begins much like Isaiah 5:1-2 (the reading from the OT accompanying our gospel). It is the third parable in Matthew with a vineyard setting (20:1-16, the workers in the vineyard; 21:28-32, the two sons). What does the vineyard represent? In Isaiah it represents Israel and many have assumed that is its meaning in the parable, e.g., the vineyard = Israel; the tenants =…

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The Vineyard: context

laborers-in-the-field-11thcentbyzantineMatthew 21:33–43 33 “Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. 34 When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. 35 But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they…

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Pilgrimage

1StFrancisBasilicaAssisiThis week beginning Sunday, September 28th, a number of parishioners and I will start our perigrinatio por Christo – our wandering for Christ – into the heart of Franciscan Italy. It is not a tour, but rather a pilgrimage. Of course we will tour many places, but what is it that makes a tour a pilgrimage? (more…)

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Doing the father’s will: their answer

Doing the father’s will: their answer

Working-landTheir Answer. The question that Jesus posed is now filled out: the chief priests and elders are required to adjudicate between the two brothers. For “doing the will of” God distinguishes mere profession from active compliance, and so here it suitably distinguishes between the attitudes of the two sons. Jesus’ question thus allows only one reasonable answer, which the Jewish leaders duly provide,…

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Doing the father’s will: change

Doing the father’s will: change

Working-landWhen Jesus asks, “What do you think?” (21:28) one has to hear the question in the context of their previous refusal to answer a question about the person and ministry of John the Baptist. Jesus does not allow the Jerusalem leadership’s previous strategic silence to pass into obscurity. Since the new question is about characters in a story, it is indirect, and the leaders cannot avoid answering…

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Parable of Two Sons: authority

Parable of Two Sons: authority

Working-landCommentary. Jesus had left Jerusalem for a brief stay in Bethany. He has now returned to the Temple area where, when he left the day before, the chief priests and scribes were angry with him (cleansing of the Temple, vv.12-17.) Given the deeds of the previous day, it seems only natural that the chief priests and the elders would ask about his credentials and question his authority. (more…)

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Parable of Two Sons: context

Parable of Two Sons: context

Working-landMatthew 21:28–32 28 “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. 30 The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.”…

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Standing Idle

workers-in-vineyardCertainly, this parable is about the generosity of God and a good preacher would do well to develop that thought. Me? I’ll do something else. I was captured by the scene when the landowner goes into the marketplace and finds people there and asks them: “Why do you stand here idle all day?” Too often we assume they got up late or were not industrious enough, or did not want it bad enough.…

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The Lord is Near

The Lord is Near

Day-in-the-lifeI’ve been talking to moms, and as it turns out, working moms. One of them gave me a definition of a working mom: “an ongoing experiment to prove that sleep is not essential to human life.” You had to laugh even as you recognized the deeper truth. We are busy people: moms, dads, kids, seniors, young professionals. However you want to classify it, we are busy people. But, this week I have been…

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