Psalm 16:5-8 and Matthew 20:1-16
Just one parable this week after several weeks of multiple stories to connect. This is a parable of a landowner who hires workers at various times during the day but chooses to pay those who have only worked an hour the same as those who worked all day. What is “fair” in God’s eyes is not the same thing that is fair in human eyes. God’s justice is not human justice. The parable reminds me of the thief on the cross and it gives hope to all those who struggle and those who have not accepted Christ.
Psalm 45:6-7 and Matthew 22:1-14
Lent is a season of opportunity, and lost opportunity can be a terrible thing. The Gospel of Matthew emphasizes Judgment and Punishment to a greater degree than other gospels. This is ironic, considering that the very same gospel also emphasizes God’s love and compassion. Over the last few months we have looked at stories of love and reconciliation, at forgiveness and at the beautiful and reassuring promises of the Beatitudes. But several parables of Jesus recorded in Matthew remind us that God will not be patient forever; that there will be a reckoning. The parable of the wedding feast reminds us that failing to heed God’s call will have very bad consequences indeed.
Psalm 43:3-4 and Matthew 25:1-13
For the second week in a row, we have a parable involving a wedding that ends badly. This time it is some foolish bridesmaids who are left out in the cold—locked out of the party, and the bridegroom even denies knowing them. The bridesmaids’ dilemma comes about because the groom is late and they have not brought extra oil for their lamps. So they are out trying to find more lamp oil when the time comes for them to greet the happy couple. Again, the teaching of the scripture deals with judgment: we must be ready, for we do not know when Jesus will return. We must stay focused, for there are hungry people to feed, sick and suffering people to comfort, and people without Christ to whom we need to bring the gospel
Psalm 98:7-9 and Matthew 25:31-46
Today’s scripture is the grand finale of scriptures in the last part of Matthew that emphasize God’s judgment. In previous weeks we have been warned by various parables that we must stay focused, that God will judge our actions in the end, and that while God has mercy and extends grace, God’s patience is not without limit. This scripture provides insight into how we will be judged: If we care for the sick, feed the hungry, bring water to the thirsty, and visit those who are sick or in prison, it is as though we do all of those things to Jesus; if we fail to do any or all of those things, we fail to do them to Jesus. And in the end, Jesus will know us by our care for others.
Psalm 98:7-9 and Matthew 21:1-17
We will celebrate Palm Sunday: Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We will also talk about the week to come and our journey from Palm Sunday, through Good Friday, to the triumph of the empty tomb on Easter Morning.