Making Room #SeasonofCreation 2020

You can listen to this sermon here

 Gate Pa – Year A  27th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Season of Creation 5

Readings:
Psalm                          Psalm 19
First Reading:              Exodus 20:1-4,7-9,12-20
Second Reading:        Phil 3:4-14
Gospel:                        Matthew 21:33-46
What I want to say:
We finish the Season of Creation by celebrating St. Francis of Assisi’s love of creation and all creatures who share this home with us. He lived a life of penance, making room for God and letting go of all that prevented him experiencing divine live within creation. He lived a life of penance so that he might make room to live God’s love for all
What I want to happen:
As we finish this season and given thanks for our pets and all creation, what might we need to let go of, and what might we need to pay attention to as we continue to make room for God?

The Sermon

        1.     Introduction:

This Sunday marks the end of the Season of Creation,

ð joined the worldwide Christian family

-         a celebration of prayer and action to protect our common home

Theme this year was Jubilee for the Earth

-         just as year jubilee in Leviticus 25 pushed restart button

-         so too we need to push restart button

ð Just as ancient Israel needed

ð We need to be reminded that we are created in the image of God who is the Creator and Sustainer of all

-         in light of that to reconsider our relationship with God’s creation and all who share our common home

-         in particular our response to climate change and destruction of web of life through biodiversity loss.

Also joined this celebration using gospel readings from Matthew – for Ordinary time in year A

-         Always keeping in mind central place of the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount in this gospel

ð how Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven, God’s reign of justice and peace

-         where following the tradition of Jubilee, Jesus offers a vision of a world where

o   all flourish;

o   where the common good, including the good of all created beings is held as paramount;

o   a world where the needs of the poor are placed first;

o   and where ALL, including all plants and animals - all creation, are treated with honour and respect and given they need to thrive.

Done so reflecting on what it means for Jesus to be our liberator

-         And what attitudes, assumptions and behaviours we need to be liberated from

       2.     Brokenness

This year our celebration is overshadowed by the consequences of our forgetfulness of who God is, who we are,
Forgetfulnes of the invitation to live in this world offered by Jesus.
As we suffer this global COVID-19 pandemic,
As we watch others live though effects of Climate change
-         ravaging wild/bush fires USA and Australia
-         increasingly frequent and destructive storms
-         droughts here and around world
-         increasingly extreme weather patterns
ð all a symptom of our forgetfulness and broken relationships with each other, with creation, with God
One of themes of any Season of Creation is repentance
Offers time repent
-         of all ways we have not lived in Jesus’ vision for reign of God
-         of our forgetfulness – that we are made in image of creating and sustaining God who is making heavens and earth
-         what it means to be the image of God
As I have said before
To repent literally means to have a bigger mind
See world through different eyes
-         to see differently
-         On a bigger canvas
-         With reign of God, Kingdom of heaven at the centre
That is what the season of creation is all about
Providing opportunity to see world we live in and all who live in it in some different ways
Seeing this world as gift
Seeing all who live here as gift
Learning to live in ways that reverence this gift.
 

        3.     Making room

This week we celebrate St. Francis of Assisi.
One gifts of Francis is that as he prayed in the hills around Assisi and further afield in Umbria
-         Overwhelmed by an experience of God and God’s love for him and all creation
-         Led to him treating all people, creatures and creation with reverence and respect
-         Become known as patron saint of creation and of animals.
-         Can be a little cheesy.
Francis was more than that
Francis saw his life as one of penance.
In “The Art of Letting Go” Franciscan priest and writer Richard Rohr suggests
-         Francis understood penance as “making room for God”.
o   Through Jesus the liberator
o   Let go attitudes and behaviours blinded him to God
-         the more he practiced making room for God
o   the more he saw God
In the end Francis saw God at work in all people,
-         even thieves, lepers and Muslims;
ð saw God in all creatures,
-         even a ferocious wolf;
ð and all creation,
-         including the birds
-         who he commanded to “beware of the sin of ingratitude and be always eager to praise God”.
The Season of Creation is about making room for God by letting go of all that distracts us from seeing God in creation and all who share this world.
Jesus the liberator continues to invite us to be liberated from the old ways of seeing creation as resource
-         and to live in ways that cares for our common home
-         and for the sisters and brothers who share it with us.

        4.     Matthew and authority

In light of all that want to look at our Gospel reading for today
-         Matthew 21: 33-46
Third part of his answer to question heard last week
Question posed by chief priests and elders
-         Wealthy Jerusalem elite
o   All absent landowners
o   Expected percentage harvest as payment
o   Would use hired enforcers on those who could not pay or were too slow to pay
After Jesus had healed and forgiven sins (only temple priests can do) around Galilee
Entered Jerusalem on donkey
-         Allusions to messianic king
Entered temple and turned over money changers tables
Returned next day to teach
Where they confront him and demand to know
-          by what authority he does ALL these things?
He replies with a question about John’s authority
-         Links his authority to John’s
-         They can’t answer honestly because they fear the crowd
Then story about two sons
Then this story about landowner and some wicked tenants
-         Fall for the trap
-         Uses to condemn them (not Jewish people but this leadership group)
-         Some other stories we will hear over next week or so
-         All of which answer their question
-         Establishing his authority
-         Showing up their lack of authority
-         (sure they had the power, but no real authority)
-         Jesus condemns them for their lack of fruit.

      5.     What about us?

Which generally Christians have felt pretty smug about
Authority has passed to us we think
Authority removed from them
-         And over much last 2000 years
-         by them, we have meant all Jews
-         persecuted them mercilessly
not what this story was about at all.
What does Jesus mean by fruit here?
Takes us back to restart button of Jubilee
Vision held in Exodus 20 – and the 10 commandments
-         show how to live in the freedom of God
-         rather than slavery of Egypt
Take us back ancient promise
-         creation being renewed and humanity restored through God’s faithfulness to the covenant with Israel
In Matthews gospel that takes us back to Beatitudes and Sermon on Mount
Coming reign of God’s justice and peace
o   all flourish;
o   where the common good, including the good of all created beings is held as paramount;
o   a world where the needs of the poor are placed first;
o   and where ALL, including all plants and animals - all creation, are treated with honour and respect and given they need to thrive.
If we are honest we are too often like chief priests and elders
Too easily forget these ancient promised
We forget this vision
We have supplanted authority of God with other authorities which more beneficial in short term at least
Blinding us to God’s presence in creation, all creatures, and in the peoples of our world
We need Francis more than even
We too need to learn to make room for God
As we finish this season and given thanks for our pets and all creation,
-         what might we need to let go of,
-         and what might we need to pay attention to as we continue to make room for God?

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