Published: Wednesday, 04 October 2017 09:41


27th sunday

Twenty Seventh Sunday of the Year

October 8th, 2017

Suggested formula for recognition of indigenous people and their land.

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we stand

We pay our respects to them for their care of the land

May we walk gently and respectfully upon the land.


I acknowledge the living culture of the ……..people,

the traditional custodians of the land we stand on,

and pay tribute to the unique role they play in the life of this region.


As we gather today let us acknowledge the local traditional custodians of this land,

and the first people that live in our own respective areas

.........for they have performed age-old ceremonies

of storytelling, music, dance, celebrations and renewal

and along with all Aboriginal people,

hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and hopes of Aboriginal Australia.

We acknowledge this living culture and its unique role in the life of Australia today

and acknowledge with honour and respect our Elders

past, present and future and pay our respects to those who have,

and still do, guide us with their wisdom.

Finally, we acknowledge with shame that much suffering

still endures to the present generation.

We pray today with faith and hope

for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and ourselves

that God’s mercy and justice will walk

in our lives, our communities and in the heart of our nation.




First Reading: Isaiah 5:1-7

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 80:9, 12, 13-14,15-16,19-20 R./ The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

Second Reading: Philippians 4:6-9

Gospel: Matthew 21:33-43

The Ten Words (inspired by the first reading from Exodus in today’s liturgy used by non-Catholics)
Exodus 20: 1-21)

This is a moment of new creation:
blast of a trumpet and fire and smoke
and the people gathered at the foot of a mountain
and Moses on the summit, receiving words:

words that are beacons, words that cast shadow,
words that are fire sparks struck from stone,
words that are trumpet, calling to silence,
words that will echo through ages to come,

words that are the beating heart of a covenant,
words of requirement, words that are gift,
words that are bones in the body of a people,
words that are blood flowing into their veins,

words that are power, spoken to weakness,
words that are freedom because they are fence,
words that challenge us, words that summon us,
words that are song for a life-long dance,

words that are dwelling place, words of foundation,
words that are law, given in grace,
words that are signposts, words that are journey,
words that are a pathway pointing to peace.

This is a moment of new creation:
blast of a trumpet and fire and smoke
and we are the people at the foot of a mountain
and we have these words, and our heart for their home.

Copyright © 2014 by Andrew King

Welcome Greeting (from Philippians 4:6-9)

May the peace of God,

which is so much greater than we can understand,

guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

May his peace be always with you.

R/ And also with you.

Penitential Rite

·         Christ Jesus, you have entrusted to us this earth to be cared for. For our neglect, Jesus, have mercy.

·         Christ Jesus, you have entrusted to us people to care for with love. For our indifference, Christ, have mercy.

·         Christ Jesus, you have entrusted to us our faith as a plant to grow. For our lack of care, Jesus, have mercy


·         Christ Jesus, you are the Way and you call us to follow you: Jesus, have mercy

·         Christ Jesus, you the Truth that guides our steps: Christ, have mercy.

·         Christ Jesus, you are the Life that strengthens us for the journey: Jesus, have mercy

Opening Prayer

God of the vineyard, you surround us with your care.

May we respond with our whole being to

your daily forgiveness and patience,

and the riches of life brought us by Jesus,

so that we may be a people that bears lasting fruits

of a justice animated by love.


God of the vineyard,

Yours is a reign of justice and peace.

You call us, your people, to tend to its growth in our world.

Bless the work entrusted to us,

that we may offer you an abundance of just works

and a harvest of peace.

General Intercessions

United with our Christ as branches of the life-giving vine, let us pray to God for the needs of our sisters and brothers, and let us say: R/ Tending God, hear the people you love.

1.      May the Church always remain young and faithful and inspire its members and the world with a sense of hope and deep love, let us pray: R/ Tending God, hear the people you love.

2.      May all Christian people show patience and compassion to people who go in different directions or disappoint us, and accept them as Christ us, let us pray: R/ Tending God, hear the people you love.

3.      May people everywhere respect all life by calling for an end to capital punishment in places where it is still used and make us mindful of the tragic illusion that life can be protected by taking of more lives, let us pray: R/ Tending God, hear the people you love

4.      May the human rights of people which are violated and ignored find respect everywhere, especially in West Papua, the Rohingyas, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and Palestine, let us pray: R/ Tending God, hear the people you love.

5.      May all people learn to recognise that all belong to the earth and share it with all other living beings, let us pray: R/ Tending God, hear the people you love.

6.      May all in this Christian community come with grateful hearts that we have been entrusted to care for the earth and all living things and respond with peace and justice, we pray: R/ Tending God, hear the people you love.

7.      May all who feel vulnerable, especially those whose lives are at risk -the very old and the very young and the unborn, the poor, disabled, imprisoned, unemployed, uneducated and those who live in the path of war, find support with one another and hope in the voices raised on their behalf, let us pray: R/ Tending God, hear the people you love.

8.      May people, especially young people, living with depression, schizophrenia, anxiety and other conditions that affect ability to cope with day-to-day life find support and true caring, let us pray: R/ Tending God, hear the people you love.

Concluding Prayer: God of the vineyard, as you tend to the earth and its people may we become what we are called to be and respond with love, compassion and justice everyday in Christ Jesus.

Prayer over the Gifts

God of the vineyard,

we bring these gifts of bread and wine before you

to celebrate the a new covenant

you have made with your people

through the death and rising of your Son.

May we we worthy of worthy of your trust

and respond with a deep faith expressed in service.

Deliver Us (based on the second reading)

Deliver us, Faithful God, from every evil,

and grant us your peace today,

peace among nations, in our homes and communites and with all things that live,

above all your own peace

which surpasses all understanding.

Direct our thoughts to all that is true,

all that is honest, beautiful and good,

as we prepare for the full coming among us

of Christ Jesus, our saviour.

R/ For the kingdom…..

Prayer after Communion

God of the vineyard,

you have gathered us in this eucharist  with Jesus ,your Son,

who has spoken your encouraging word and given us food

for building up your reign among your people.

Deepen our trust that Christ is with us all

and that he is the foundation on which we build.

Make us inventive and creative

in respectfully sharing the good news we have received

with all who are willing to listen.


October 10 World Mental Health Day

Further Resources

Reconciliation is the ultimate aim of nonviolence because nonviolence holds not only for the absolute inviolability of the human person, both friend and enemy, but maintains that human beings are ultimately one family, brothers and sisters to each other.

Niall O'Brien, Columban priest who had worked in the Philippines before his death

Tenants and Stewards Matthew 21: 33-46

A besetting sin

                of stewards

                or trustees

is that they begin

to think the place is theirs.

Most caretakers seem

                meek when they first

                take up the post,

but in a short time

all humility is lost.

Likewise the trustees

                of a church

                or public hall

soon start to put on airs

and think they own it all.

Unhappy the house

                where tenants

                call the tune,

they soon resent the owner

and treat it as their own.

They scheme and plot

                to retain tight

                their stranglehold.

Some would even kill God

to keep their stolen world.

© B.D. Prewer 1995

A Prayer to Abolish the Death Penalty

God of Compassion,
You let your rain fall on the just and the unjust.
Expand and deepen our hearts
so that we may love as You love
even those among us
who have caused the greatest pain by taking life.
For there is in our land a great cry for vengeance
as we fill up death rows and kill the killers
in the name of justice, in the name of peace.

Jesus, our brother,
you suffered execution at the hands of the state
but you did not let hatred overcome you.
Help us to reach out to victims of violence
so that our enduring love may help them heal.

Holy Spirit of God,
You strengthen us in the struggle for justice.
Help us to work tirelessly
for the abolition of state-sanctioned death
and to renew our society in its very heart
so that violence will be no more.

Helen Prejean, CSJ

The church once changed society. It was then a thermostat of society. But today...the church is merely a thermometer, which measures rather than moulds popular opinion.

Martin Luther King, Jr

I’d like to say to us

as educators:

poor are those among us who lose their capacity to dream,

to create their courage

to denounce

and announce...

Paulo Freire

Every person born in this world represents something new,

something that never existed before,

something original and unique...

and every man or woman's foremost task is the

actualization of his or her unique, unprecedented and

never-recurring possibilities.

Martin Buber, Jewish Philosopher

God of all creation,

we gather in awe before you,

impelled by our longing for peace and harmony

among all human beings.

Here we are-

children of many traditions,

inheritors of shared wisdom and tragic misunderstandings,

of great hopes and humble success.

Here we meet –

in memory and truth,

in courage and mutual trust,

in love and promise.

In that which we share,

let us see the common prayer for peace;

In that which we differ,

let us respect the difference;

in our unity and our differences,

let us know the uniqueness that is God.

May our courage match our convictions,

and our integrity match our hope.

May our faith in you bring us closer to each other.

May our prayer reach you,

and rain upon us as your peace


Prayer to introduce International Day or Peace Interfaith Prayer Service at St David’s Uniting Church, Lindfield, September 21, 2011

The protest of Liberation theology against suffering is not limited to a single region. Every kind of repression, every cry of the poor, of the oppressed, of the marginalized anywhere in the world is an appeal to theology. … is it possible to live in peace and happily when you know that two-thirds of human beings are suffering, hungry and poor? It’s not only the cry of the poor we must listen to but also the cry of the earth. We must do something to change the situation – there won’t be a Noah’s Ark to save only some of us.

Leonardo Boff

Justice is nothing but love with legs. Justice is what love looks like when it takes social form.

Serene Jones

Don't look for meaning in the words. Listen to the silences.

Samuel Beckett quoted in Forty Days of Solitude by Doris Grumbach

Today’s dominant worldview is simply too biased toward anthropocentrism, materialism, egocentrism, contempocentrism, reductionism, rationalism, and nationalism to sustain the changes needed.

Gus Speth

The voice of protest, of warning, of appeal is never more needed than when the clamor of fife and drum, echoed by the press and too often by the pulpit, is bidding all men fall in and keep step and obey in silence the tyrannous word of command. Then, more than ever, it is the duty of the good citizen not to be silent.

Charles Eliot Norton, (1827-1908) American scholar

It is one thing to wish to have truth on our side, and another to wish sincerely to be on the side of truth.

Richard Whately, On the Love of Truth

To leave behind …[a] crude and highly patriarchal, hierarchical, materialistic, individualist, dependent, and class-biased understanding of God and of the Trinity seems…an essential step for the present and the future…We are constantly being invited to return to our roots: to communion with the earth, with all peoples and with all living things; to realize that transcendence is not a reality ‘out there,’ isolated, ‘in itself,’ superior to all that exists, but a transcendence within us, among us, in the earth, in the cosmos, everywhere.

Ivone Gebara

Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

Frederick Douglass, (1818-1895), escaped slave, Abolitionist, author, editor of the North Star and later the New National Era August 4, 1857

People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

George Orwell

With nothing can one approach a work of art so little as with critical words: they always come down to more or less happy misunderstandings. Things are not all so comprehensible and expressible as one would mostly have us believe; most events are inexpressible, taking place in a realm which no word has ever entered, and more inexpressible than all else are works of art, mysterious existences, the life of which, while ours passes away, endures.’

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters To A Young Poet

The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means.    

Georges Bernanos

How you can win the population for war: At first, the statesman will invent cheap lying, that impute the guilt of the attacked nation, and each person will be happy over this deceit, that calm the conscience. It will study it detailed and refuse to test arguments of the other opinion. So he will convince step for step even there from that the war is just and thank God, that he, after this process of grotesque even deceit, can sleep better.  

Mark Twain

War paralyses your courage and deadens the spirit of true manhood. It degrades and stupefies with the sense that you are not responsible, that 'tis not yours to think and reason why, but to do and die,' like the hundred thousand others doomed like yourself. War means blind obedience, unthinking stupidity, brutish callousness, wanton destruction, and irresponsible murder.      

Alexander Berkman

We should take care, in inculcating patriotism into our boys and girls, that is a patriotism above the narrow sentiment which usually stops at one's country, and thus inspires jealousy and enmity in dealing with others... Our patriotism should be of the wider, nobler kind which recognises justice and reasonableness in the claims of others and which lead our country into comradeship with...the other nations of the world.

Lord Baden-Powell

My kind of loyalty was to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.

Mark Twain

We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war.  

Albert Einstein

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;

the real tragedy of life is when people are afraid of the light.

Plato, (adapted for gender sensitivity)

The state has, in order to control us, introduced division into our thinking, so that we come to distrust others and look to the state for protection! But the roots of our individualism remind us that what we are is inseparable from the source from which all others derive; that coercive practices that threaten our neighbor also threaten us. 

Butler Shaffer

I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man's pride.

William James

A time will come when a politician who has willfully made war and promoted international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men's lives should not stake their own.

H.G. Wells

The soul of our country needs to be awakened . . .When leaders act contrary to conscience, we must act contrary to leaders.

Veterans Fast for Life

What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.

Robert E. Lee, in a letter to his wife, 1864

The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions.   

Robert Lynd (1879-1949), Anglo-Irish essayist, journalist

The cry has been that when war is declared, all opposition should therefore be hushed. A sentiment more unworthy of a free country could hardly be propagated. If the doctrine be admitted, rulers have only to declare war and they are screened at once from scrutiny.  

William Ellery Channing

Because we fear the responsibility for our actions, we have allowed ourselves to develop the mentality of slaves. Contrary to the stirring sentiments of the Declaration of Independence, we now pledge ‘our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor’ not to one another for our mutual protection, but to the state, whose actions continue to exploit, despoil, and destroy us.  

Butler D. Shaffer

I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.  

Abraham Lincoln

God of our relating

thank you

for hands across the table

for hands across the sea

for hands around the world

thank you

for eyes meeting across a room

for eyes opened to different lifestyles

for eyes shining in new friendships

thank you

for ears that can hear the beating of a heart

for ears that pick up the crises of the voiceless

for ears that respond to the pulses of the world

thank you

Kate Compston, England, from 600 Blessings and Prayers from around the world compiled by Geoffrey Duncan, Twenty-Third Publications, Mystic CT 2000

Most people are, at heart, well-meaning but, in action, hypocrites.  They will weep tears of blood over a child killed in the street.  They will accept, without a pang, the deaths of hundreds of thousands from malnutrition.  The loss of a lifeboat is an epic tragedy; tribal genocide is a paragraph hastily read, lightly dismissed.  Sixty dead in a train crash is a disaster; six million dead in the camps and gas ovens is an historical statistic.  The charitable will airlift a thousand tons of food to the victims of an earthquake; they will not raise voice or hand in defense of twenty thousand swept into the oblivions of the disappeared dissidents.
Morris West in Images and Inscriptions, HarperCollins, Sydney, 1997

May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

I realize that if I wait until I am no longer afraid to act, write, speak, be, I’ll be sending messages on a ouija board, cryptic complaints from the other side.

Audre Lorde

The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.

Archibald Macleish

You do not become a ‘dissident’ just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society.

Vaclav Havel

Wild intelligence abhors any narrow world; and the world of women must stay narrow, or the woman is an outlaw. No woman could be Nietzsche or Rimbaud without ending up in a whorehouse or lobotomized.

Andrea Dworkin

Has there ever been a society which has died of dissent? Several have died of conformity in our lifetime.

Jacob Bronowski

There is a language older by far and deeper than words. It is the language of bodies, of body on body, wind on snow, rain on trees, wave on stone. It is the language of dream, gesture, symbol, memory.  We have forgotten this language.  We do not even remember that it exists.

In order for us to maintain our way of living, we must, in a broad sense, tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves.  It is not necessary that the lies be particularly believable.  The lies act as barriers to truth.  These barriers to truth are necessary because without them many deplorable acts would become impossibilities.  Truth must at all costs be avoided. When we do allow self-evident truths to percolate past our defenses and into our consciousness, they are treated like so many hand-grenades rolling across the dance floor of an improbably macabre party.  We try to stay out of harm’s way, afraid they will go off, shatter our delusions, and leave us exposed to what we have done to the world and to ourselves, exposed as the hollow people we have become. And so we avoid these truths, these self-evident truths, and continue the dance of world destruction.

Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words

Reflections on the readings

If I was asked to sum up the gospel message of Jesus in a few words, it would be as 1John tells us: ‘My dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God, for God is love. And this is love: not that we love God, but that God first loved us when God sent Jesus to be one of us. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God lives in them.’ Isaiah and the gospel refer to a vineyard. The reading from Isaiah is in the context of a love story – God in love with the people of Israel, with whom God has entered into a loving relationship. It has been an ongoing relationship of care. The Gospel message: God loves us. God loves us, and God loves us first. Unconditionally. Without limit. But the parable is of a long suffering God. We are as expected to love God and to love one another, but we don’t. The love shown us needs to reach out in love to one another, to all people, to everyone, without condition, without limit, but it does not. In Isaiah, as God looked for justice and love, for righteousness, there was violence and bloodshed and heard cries of distress. The people did not love one another or act with justice toward one another. This story is repeated in the gospel today, too. In God’s vineyard, there is violence and greed. Yet despite this, God still loves. God's love is without limit’; it is endless. God waits to be gracious to us. God loves us first and asks for our response.

Unfortunately, many like the scribes and Pharisees, people think they have earned God’s love by obeying the commandments, following dogmas. They (we) can’t. If we really opened ourselves to God’s love, to experience it and respond to I, we would burst out with love for one another and respect creation. But in our midst fewer and fewer people have more and more the world’s wealth and the great majority of people are getting poorer and poorer. Gross inequality exist because we live in a system that promotes entitlement and greed. It prompts people to set us walls against people who knock at our gates for security, who are homeless, who are poor, who are facing violence of all kinds – but we erect great walls.  We seem more and more addicted to violence whether in our communities, streets, homes. Domestic violence, violence against people who are different to us, violence against people in countries that have never posed any threat to us and harmed us.  There is violence in the rhetoric that exists between the USA and North Korea; the USA  and Venezuela, Cuba, Boliva, Iran and other countries. We need to listen more deeply to God’s message to us: to give up violence; refuse to wage war or support it in any way. We have to begin to let that experience of God's love overflow in us and reach out in love to one another, to every person. When I think of the messengers in the gospel being killed, I think of the sports’ people who have in recent times been attacked by making a simple gesture of kneeling during the national anthem to highlight various forms of injustice; or a rapper singing about same love at a football grand final when another singer could get away with singing a song at a similar event about killing a woman. Are these people rebellious ‘tenants’ or faithful ones. Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, who was shot at the altar by those who considered him a rebellious tenant, spoke these apt words: ‘It is very easy to be servants of the word without disturbing the world: a very spiritualised word, a word without any commitment to history, a word that can sound in any part of the world because it belongs to no part of the world. A word like that creates no problems, starts no conflicts.  What starts conflicts and persecutions, what marks the genuine Church, is the word that, burning like the word of the prophets, proclaims and accuses;  proclaims to the people God’s wonders to be believed and venerated, and accuses of sin those who oppose God’s reign . . .’

The gospel parable is not about people in the past but about us. We are forced to ask ourselves serious questions. Are we producing the ‘the fruits’ God expects of us - justice for the excluded, solidarity, compassion towards the suffering, forgiveness towards those who have offended, raising our voices and acting in defence of people who are being oppressed? Otherwise, our lives and our Christianity become sterile. God will not identify with our mediocrity, our inconsistencies, deviations and lack of faithfulness. God depends on us to be a light to the world in which we live but God will find others who will produce justice and they may well be people not of our group, tribe, or community.

The gospel today is hard-hitting and again we cannot think of it as intended for ‘others’.  We see how people refused to hand over the produce from the vineyard to the owner.  It is like when we offer back to God a sterile Christianity. We might hear the gospel in terms of our care or lack of care of the planet. The violence in the vineyard applies as much to creation as to that perpetrated against our sisters and brothers. When it comes to care of creation  we have been remiss in our care for and exacerbated climate change by our arrogance: considering clear-cutting tree filled land as progress; the convenience of 100’s or more of highways and concrete parking lots; viewing recycling as an inconvenience and just putting coffee grounds down the sink; corporations dumping waste into rivers and streams or nuclear waste on indigenous land, discharging chemicals into the air, land-grabs for mining and dispossession of peoples, cutting mountain tops for mining exploitation. God’s creation is a gift for us to enjoy and nurture for generations to come. Many people fail to take responsibility for the planet because of personal costs to them without regard to those who follow and without regard to those in developing countries who have not been irresponsible or as irresponsible as those in developed nations. Our failure to care and nature is manifested by pollution, climate change, destructions of rainforests – again mostly in indigenous lands, and over-consumption. How much are we responsible for the current famine in South Sudan? What about the negligence that has led to so many die in epidemics? What kind of tenants are we when we continue to refuse to make a space for people who seek asylum from persecution and other life-threatening issues? What kind of tenants are we when we allow Indigenous Australians to continue to live in third world conditions and die 20 years earlier than others in the population? What kind of tenants are we when we continue to destroy the earth, the environment and our sisters and brothers in wars that we engage in?

Pope Francis has stated, ‘We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she ‘groans in travail’ (Rom 8:22)’ (Laudato Si’, 2). He also says that the environmental challenge that we are experiencing, and its human causes, affects us all (cf. Laudato Si’, 14) and demands our response. We can no longer remain silent before one of the greatest environmental crises in world history’ (2/15/16). What did we do to our vineyard? We cannot deny what is happening.

The gospel is good news. It reveals us to what is possible. The story need not have a tragic end. The fruits expected of us are still justice, right relationship with people and all creation if there is to be peace in our world.  All peoples of all places in every period of history are the intended recipients of God’s love revealed in Jesus.

Matthew 25 tells us that Jesus is to be found waiting to be served, among the hungry, the thirsty, the poor, the outcast, the stranger, the sick and the person in prison or out of prison. This is where the rubber hits the road. It is real people that we are called to serve – not some other in the beyond. Where do we find Jesus and serve him? The setting of today’s gospel is a workplace, a vineyard, and we are called to see signs of God's reign. Though work takes up much of our time, we do not often see the workplace, and our home life, or the person who shares our bed as places of encounter with God. They seem to be the least likely places we would expect to encounter God, but Jesus is saying that we must open our eyes and recognise that it is in these places that we see God's dynamic presence.

The continuing sending out of messenger after messenger and then his son by the owner reflects the foolishness of God. There is no limit to what God is prepared to do to show love for the vineyard, the people, the world and call us to conversion. There is no limit to the love that God has for us. We have been endowed with every opportunity for becoming who we are intended to be - individual and collective images of God who reflect the heart of God in the world. If first-century Jews were guilty of rejecting Jesus, many 21st century Christians need to recognise ourselves in the picture. More than ever we continue to fail to God's love. When we put down Muslims, or homosexuals, we are rejecting Jesus. When we fail to care for the poor amongst us, we are rejecting Jesus. When we are ignorant because of our comforts to the cries of the oppressed around the world, we are rejecting Jesus. When we support preemptive war that kills thousands of people in another country (not to mention our own), we are rejecting Jesus. When we refuse to accept the calling of women to service in the church, we are rejecting Jesus. When we applaud harsher prison sentences on people, especially the poor or people of colour, we are rejecting Jesus. When we close our eyes to the use of pilotless aircraft to make war easier in the other parts of the world, we are rejecting Jesus. We are rejecting Jesus because it is the face of Jesus on each of these people that we do not recognise or turn away from. We must not make the mistake of applying the parables of Jesus to other people. We must recognise that they are applied to us today. So we're called to try to follow that way of love. If we do, then clearly what will happen to us is what Paul says in our second lesson today, ‘Put into practice what you have learned and then the God of peace will be with you and fill you with God's peace.’