Pre-Lent Sermon Series: Gospel readings
Sunday 6th February 2011
Matthew 5.13-20- Salt & light
'You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can
its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown
out and trampled under foot.
'You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.
No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the
lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let
your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and
give glory to your Father in heaven.
'Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have
come not to abolish but to fulfil. For truly I tell you, until heaven
and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will
pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks
one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same,
will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and
teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell
you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Sunday 13th February 2011
Matthew 13.1-23- The sower
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. Such
great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there,
while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things
in parables, saying: 'Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed,
some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other
seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they
sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose,
they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other
seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other
seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some
sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!'
Then the disciples came and asked him, 'Why do you speak to them in parables?'
He answered, 'To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom
of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to those who have, more
will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have
nothing, even what they have will be taken away. The reason I speak to
them in parables is that "seeing they do not perceive, and hearing
they do not listen, nor do they understand." With them indeed is
fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
"You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people's heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn-
and I would heal them."
But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what
you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear
'Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the
kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away
what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what
was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately
receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only
for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the
word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns,
this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the
lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what
was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands
it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another
sixty, and in another thirty.'
Sunday 27th February 2011
Matthew 13.24-30; 34-43- The wheat & tares
He put before them another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven may be compared
to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep,
an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So
when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well.
And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, "Master,
did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds
come from?" He answered, "An enemy has done this." The
slaves said to him, "Then do you want us to go and gather them?"
But he replied, "No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot
the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest;
and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and
bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn."
Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable
he told them nothing. This was to fulfil what had been spoken through
'I will open my mouth to speak in parables;
I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.'
Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached
him, saying, 'Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.' He
answered, 'The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field
is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds
are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the
devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.
Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be
at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will
collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they
will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping
and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the
kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!
Sunday 6th March 2011
Matthew 13.31-33; 44-49a- Parables of the Kingdom
Jesus put before them another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven is like
a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest
of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and
becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its
He told them another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that
a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it
'The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone
found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys
'Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls;
on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had
and bought it.
'Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea
and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore,
sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will
be at the end of the age.