|THE WORD AND THE SPIRIT||
This parable of the two sons is found only in Matthew. It cited the inflexibility and duplicity of the Jewish leaders and is directed towards them as Jesus talked to them in the temple. The vineyard as used is a metaphor for God's kingdom. The two sons, represent two segments of Judaism with the first son stands for sinners within Israel like tax collectors and prostitutes who, despite their initial negative response, ultimately answer favorably to the message of Jesus. The second son clearly represents Jesus' listeners, the religious leaders of the Jews, the recipients of God's revelation to his people. It is a message to which they have set themselves apart as God’s chosen leaders to the chosen people. But when God's plan is brought to its fulfillment, in the preaching of John the Baptist, they refuse to accept it. Trapped in this discourse, they acknowledged their sinfullness in choosing the first son as more acceptable. Let’s look at this irony, the teachers of Israel excluded themselves from the kingdom of God by their own admission while the reformed outcasts will enter God's kingdom.
“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:3)
Jesus’ words said to the Pharisees, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” (Mt 9:13a) opened up an argument that set the Kingdom’s priorities straight. Doing what is “right and just” is doing what is “morally right." Toward God, this means having a pure and humble heart and obeying His word and commandments (1 Sm 15:22-23 and Ps 51:18-19). Toward men, this means being fair, right, showing mercy, compassion and kindness in everything we do (Ex 18:21-22, Dt 1:16-17, Dt 16:18-20).
“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to give birth, and a time to die. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2,4)
It was an overcast, rainy day when my father was driving home after buying farm implements from the neighboring city. He skidded and lost control of his jeep and plunge into a cliff. He was killed instantly.
The Parable of the Two Sons in Sunday’s Gospel speaks of the people of Jesus’ time: the first son is like the prostitutes and tax collectors who have disobeyed the commandments of the Lord, but upon hearing the teachings of John the Baptist, have repented and reformed their ways. The second son is like the chief priests and elders to whom Jesus addressed His story. In spite of their outward display of holiness, they refused to embrace and believe in John’s teachings. Jesus then reveals to the chiefs and the elders that the prostitutes and the tax collectors will enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus did not mince words. “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.” (Mt 21: 31b)
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”
(1 Cor. 15:57).
On September 20, 2014, the BLD Newark Youth hosted its annual Battle of the Districts, inviting the Youth from BLD Districts Trenton, Rockland, and Camden to come and join in the fun and games for God’s glory! The different communities gathered together at eight o’clock on a Saturday morning for a breakfast and worship led by the newly anointed DYC: Anthony Lucero, Jules Almazar, Kyle Flores, Dana DeCastro, and Kristian Quevada.
Our worship theme for the coming week is: “We love one another when we are generous with our time, talent and treasure.” The key word in our theme is “generous”.
As we will notice in the readings for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, one common theme also emerges and that is God’s generosity to us. In the first reading from Isaiah, verse 7 says, “Let them turn to the L to find mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving.” The Lord is generous in mercy and forgiveness. In Psalm 145 verses 8 and 9, the psalmist extolls God’s generosity in His patience, kindness, and compassion: “The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in mercy. The LORD is good to all, compassionate toward all your works.” In the second reading, St. Paul acknowledges Christ’s generosity towards him when the Lord transformed him despite his prior life of persecuting Christians. It is in response to God’s generosity that St. Paul himself was as generous in living and giving his life for the sake of the Gospel (ref. Phil 1:20-24).
“You are my hiding place... whenever I am afraid I will trust in you.” What a powerful song! When David wrote Psalm 17, he had pretty much the same thought in mind. He was seeking protection from his enemies who were pressing in all around him. So he prayed:
“Show your wonderful mercy, you who deliver with your right arm those who seek refuge from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” (Ps17:7-8)
We are told in John’s Gospel that “the whole world” probably cannot contain the books that would be written if we recorded every single thing Jesus did (cf. John 21:25). Despite this wealth of material, the fact that all three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) recount the Parable of the Sower suggests that this Parable was an especially powerful story.
Because the Parable of the Sower is common to the Synoptic Gospels, we are probably already quite familiar with it: Jesus tells the story of a sower who scattered seed all around the ground. Some seed fell on a path, where birds ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, which lacked the depth for the seed to take root and grow. Still other seed fell among thorns, which choked up the seed. Finally, some seed fell into good soil and bore tremendous fruit (“thirty and sixty and a hundred fold”).
Over a thousand Filipinos and friends gathered in Parsippany, NJ this past weekend to take part in the 18th National Convention of the Alliance of Filipino Catholic Charismatic Prayer Communities, proving that the Word of God is spreading among our kababayans who now call North America their home. Fr. Bill Halbing, a name familiar to many in BLD, was among the main speakers. Also serving at the conference from BLD were: Richard dela Fuente, who gave inspiring talks in the event’s workshop segments; Dave dela Fuente, who ably moderated the Youth track; and Randy Trinidad, Ray and Suzie Atienza who were on hand to provide technical support. And showcasing beautiful voices, upbeat music and worship style, BLD Youth led an Adoration Service, and Adult Praise sang at the Sunday Eucharistic Celebration.
Prayer Healing II retreat, a program by the Pastoral Ministry conducted by established BLD teachers of prayer ministry was successfully held at the DMP Library last weekend (Sep 13-14). The intensely biblical training teaches several ingredients to facilitate the process of sanctification:
1. Confession: bringing to the light what has been held in secret.
2. Repentance: exercising godly grief based in love for God and for those who have been wounded,
resulting in real change.
3. Forgiveness: releasing to God those who have hurt us, as well as asking Him to forgive us for our
To nurture and promote the love of the Gospel of Christ.