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September 29th, 2002
Catholic Homilies
September 29th, 2002

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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time Matt. 21: 28-32

Background:

Today's reading is the first of three parables of judgment upon the religious foes of Jesus. The parables continue Mark's emphasis on Jesus and his preaching as the crucial moment in Israel's history. This parable can be viewed from a number of perspectives. First of all, the gospel is preached and heard by sinners and outcasts and rejected by the religious establishment. We also find the hypocrisy of the religious person saying one thing and doing another. In addition, vs. 31-32 links Jesus with John the Baptist who also urged repentance and was rejected by the religious leaders but accepted by tax collectors and harlots.

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Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a parish had, in addition to the regular run-of-the-mill parishioners, two particularly noticeable groups – the politically, socially and financially well connected and those that might be called the marry’em, bury ‘em and Christmas and Easter Catholics. The Sunday after the pastor learned that an organization for the homeless had bought property in the community, he set about encouraging his parishioners to work with the organization in order to create a working relationship that would reflect their concern for the poor. The next day a group of parishioners asked if they might have a meeting with the organization for the homeless in order to determine what they might individually and as a parish community do to support the workers and those who came to them for help. Many of the marry’em, bury ‘em etc. parishioners came to the meeting and agreed to do their part. A few nights after the meeting two representatives of the well connected took the pastor to dinner and let him know that they were not at all pleased with his support of the program. They suggested that he might better serve the community by encouraging the group to move elsewhere. When it became apparent that the pastor did not buy their suggestion, they took their contributions to another parish.

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When it became apparent that the pastor did not buy their suggestion, they took their contributions to another parish

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