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Voiding God's Promises
Thursday, 27 August 2020

Naming a grace to celebrate

God promised to father the nation Israel and sealed that promise in a covenant. And God is ever faithful. However, human behaviour is fickle so that God's promises are rejected and the covenant broken. Human kind puts a curse on itself which in turn flows over onto Earth. Let us meditate both on the eternal loving promises of a patient God, and on unfaithful human responses (pause).

PRAYER

Lord, dried up land and polluted oceans are signs that we have desecrated land and polluted the waters you give in loving kindness. Often we have been unfaithful to your covenant of blessings, offering but lip service in return. Remembering that you are ever faithful and merciful, may we turn back to you with all our heart. Wash us clean and give us the power to act with integrity. We ask ...

ISAIAH 24:4-6- EARTH DIES IF COVENANT BROKEN

The Earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers; the heavens languish together with the Earth.
The Earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the Earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the Earth dwindled, and few people are left.

PSALM 105

Remember God's covenant forever

8Remember God's covenant forever, a word commanded for a thousand generations,

9The covenant that God made with Abraham, a sworn promise to Isaac,

10confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant,

11Saying, 'To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.'

41God opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed through the desert like a river.

42Remembering your holy promise, and Abraham, your servant.

1 THESS 5:14-17 - PATIENTLY SEEK PEACE

We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing.

MATTHEW 15:1-9 - DECEIT

Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat." He answered them, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honour your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.' But you say that whoever tells father or mother, 'Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God,' then that person need not honor the father. So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said:

This people honours me with their lips,but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.'"

STORY TELLING

Landline is a television program that tells stories linking the three spheres of ecology, economics and human communities as one. A program might be about growing mushrooms or sea weed, regenerating the soil with cell grazing of animals or developing a wildlife park for tourism. Inter-dependence is a key word to understanding how a human community makes a living by interacting with its ecological surrounds. Many people are fascinated by the management decisions involved and even find God present in the puzzle.

REFLECTION IDEA

All of us would have taken part in a fancy banquet at a school reunion - everyone is dressed up, a MC leads the protocols, people are invited to speak, toasts are proposed as spirits run high.Sadly, sometimes the event rings hollow - made up stories and exaggeration holds sway - a false show.

Scripture is often blunt in condemning the phoniness of Israel, especially the leaders and priestly caste. Jesus said the Pharisees were unfaithful to their covenant with God - the vineyard belonged to God, to be cared for and not plundered. He condemned false show of hollow prayers as mere lip service.

In our day many grand exaggerated speeches, even shows of sympathetic concern to disaster victims, can deny the ecological emergency engulfing our planet. Likewise, our lifestyle preferences often ignore the measurable impacts of climate change and the reality of resource limitations. We disregard calls to re-evaluate displays of so called success to choose a more humble path of simplicity.

INTERCESSIONS

1. Just as God made dry bones in the desert grow to live, may degraded land and polluted waters be changed to nurture the household of Earth. Father of Jesus, hear ...

2. Remembering that God cared for Abrabam's descendants as refugees, and that we all came here as outsiders, may we respect and share the gifts of this land. Father of Jesus, hear ...

3. Since the Equinox shows the new life of spring and the maturity of autumn, may we learn to bring its harmony and rhythmic flow into our lives. Father of Jesus, hear ...

4. Knowing that Jesus condemned the Pharisees for letting their traditions void the word of God, may we not give god-like status to our economic ways and lifestyle. Father of Jesus, hear ...

5. Learning that lip service does not please God, may we prepare our liturgy with an ear for Scripture, an eye to Earth's realities and a heart for the community. Father of Jesus, hear ...

6.As the Spirit of Jesus led his followers to form communities of integrity, may church leaders and believers listen to each other in patience so we can proclaim a new creation in the Christ Risen. Father of Jesus hear ....

PRAY AS JESUS TAUGHT: "OUR FATHER ..."

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Creating and nurturing God, we know that we are called to first be reconciled with each other and Earth itself before approaching your altar in prayer. We know too that we have been washed clean by the obedience of your Son and made into a new creation. May we encourage each other in kindness knowing that you support us in all that we do. We ask ...

"Patriarch Bartholomew said, "to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God".

-Laudato Si #8

LESSONS FROM THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW
St Matthew's Gospel was written to communicate Good News to Jewish People. Jesus is shown as fulfilling God's promises to Abraham's children. He fulfils the Covenant promises. He is a descendant of David. Matthew writes to communicate. The faith journey in his Gospel tells stories of opposition and doubts. It charts a new order for the Kingdom of Heaven which culminates in the Great Commission for his followers to proclaim the Risen Jesus. He is Good News to all the nations, for God holds a dominion of loving care over the whole world. Matthew's Gospel encourages us to creatively communicate Laudato Si' - use language and images familiar to the hearer.
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