Season of Agreements

Outline Season of Agreements 

23rd-26th Weeks Ordinary Time September Year A

The theme of covenant is strong in the entire bible as it describes God’s relationship with his people and what He has agreed/promised to do.  “I will establish a New Covenant with the house of Israel. . . . I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” This set of scriptures reveal the duties of God’s people. 

As the prophets reveal/describe the people who refuse to obey the Lord’s commands, who fail to keep the agreement of obedience suffer greatly and many lose out on the Kingdom of God because of that.     

23rd Sunday Ezekiel 33:7-9 God commissions Ezekiel as watchman; “When you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me.  If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak it out…I will hold you responsible for his death.” 

24th Sunday Sirach 27:30-28:7 forgive & be forgiven; hate not your neighbors.  “Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?” 

25th Sunday Isaiah 55:6-9 Seek while he can be found; “Let the scoundrel forsake his way and the wicked his thoughts” “turn to the Lord for mercy” “so high are my ways above your ways”. 

26th Ezekiel 18:25-28 “You say “The Lord’s way is not fair!” “Rather, are not your ways unfair?” “When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.”  “But if he turns from the wickedness … and does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life”. 

The Gospels try to teach the holders of the New Covenant how to act, how to react when challenged.  God’s Grace is sufficient for them to keep His command to love God above all and to love neighbor as self, but to receive the grace they must choose to do so by their actions of “agreement”. The “agreement” available in each of the Gospels: 23rd Sunday Matthew 18:15-20 “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven (or loose)”   “If two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father”  “Where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”  24th Sunday Matthew 18:21-35 forgive 77 times; how to treat others with mercy.   Forgive those who sin against you seventy-seven times.  “Be patient with me and I will pay you back in full”.   Moved with compassion the master forgave the servant the loan.  A fellow servant owed him a much smaller amount, begged for patience but he refused.  Later, the King/master said “Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?” then required him to pay the whole debt (previously forgiven).   Jesus said, “So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”  25th Sunday Matthew 20:1-16a Treat others with generosity.  At dawn “after agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.”  At nine, at noon, around three, about 5 o’clock, “you too go into my vineyard”.  At evening the workers were summoned and paid the usual daily wage starting with those hired a 5 pm.  When the first came, they thought they would receive more but they didn’t.  On receiving, they grumbled against the landowner saying, “These last ones worked only one hour and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.”  “I am not cheating you, did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?”  “Are you envious because I am generous?”  “Thus the last will be first and the first will be last.”  26th Sunday Matthew 21:28-32 Actions speak louder than words following agreement.   The first said “I will not” go work in the vineyard. Afterwards changed his mind and went.  The second son said “Yes, sir” but did not go.  Which did the father’s will?  The one who went! Jesus said, “tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.  When John came to you in the way of righteousness you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did.  Yet even when you saw that you did not later change your minds and believe him.”  Note the differences in Paul’s two writings: Romans and Philippians.  It is not just a different “city” that is addressed.  It is a different topic.  The law is strategically taught in Romans; Love is taught in Philippians.  They are truly the same thing.  Example: Stories of personal commitments made to the Lord.  Note those in the Gospel saying “no” but doing “yes” and saying “yes” but doing “no”.  This is confusing for those who look to you as an example.  Let your “yes” mean “yes” and your “no” mean “no”, then say yes!  September 14th is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross with writing from Moses.  Discernment of revering the Cross and the care needed not to “idolize” it but to look beyond it to the truth.  Some listeners have issue with those who revere the Cross as a sacramental.  Compare it to picture albums and cemetery markers—it celebrates death and life.   It celebrates the agreement fulfilled.  The benefits are thus poured out in all who accept Christ, crucified as Lord.   

Scriptures of Season of Agreements  Scriptures and liturgical readings are available at Readings & Catechism 23rd Sunday in OrdinaryEzekiel 33:7-9 God commissions Ezekiel as watchman.  Romans 13:8-10 love(of neighbor) is the fulfillment of the law-especially the 5,6,7,9,10th commandments.  Matthew 18:15-20 two agree in prayer/2 or 3 gathered in my name…I am there.  24th Sunday in Ordinary Sirach 27:30-28:7 forgive & be forgiven; hate not your neighbors.  Romans 14:7-9 live for the Lord; die for the Lord.  Matthew 18:21-35 forgive 77 times; story of the released debtor who had no mercy.  25th Sunday in OrdinaryIsaiah 55:6-9 Seek while he can be found; so high are my ways above your ways.  Philippians 1:20c-24,27a life is Christ, death is gain.  Matthew 20:1-16a Kingdom is like: hiring laborers at different times, last shall be first.  26th Sunday in Ordinary: Ezekiel 18:25-28 turn away from sin to live.  Philippians 2;1-11  be of same mind looking out for others.  Matthew 21:28-32 two sons who change their minds compared to elders & priests vs. tax collectors & prostitutes.  September 14th Feast:  Exaltation of the Holy Cross  Numbers 21:4b-9 Moses made the bronze serpent pole and people were healed.  Philippians 2:6-11 Jesus became obedient even to death on a cross; hymn: every tongue confess Jesus is Lord.  John 3:13-17 God so loved the world that he gave his only Son;  not to condemn but to save.       

References and Resources for Season of Agreements
CCC 1965.
Jeremiah 31:31, 33  “I will establish a New Covenant with the house of Israel. . . . I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  Matthew 18: 19  “Again, (amen,) I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.” 

Welcome to the Catholic Church Cd-rom.  Living a Christian Life Chapter 3: Charity, The Eucharist and Church Membership  Q.C#2  b) The Church recommends devotion to Jesus’ sacred heart. Devotion to Jesus’ sacred heart is rooted both in adoration of his living human body, insofar as it is the divine Word’s flesh, and in the natural symbolism by which his living heart is a sign of his divine and human love. This love led Jesus to offer himself in redemptive self-sacrifice, which resulted in his death and the piercing of his heart, from which blood and water flowed. Raised to life again, he shares divine love with his followers through the “water” of the Holy Spirit and Eucharistic Communion in his body and blood. Thus, devotion to Jesus’ sacred heart embodies central truths of faith, focuses on God’s love, makes amends for acts which answer Jesus’ love with offenses, expresses adoration, thanks God for his mercy, and confirms the baptismal commitment to follow Jesus’ way of the cross to heavenly glory.52      To implement this devotion liturgically, the Church celebrates the solemnity of the Sacred Heart on the Friday following the second Sunday after Pentecost. It is also recommended that all Catholics consecrate themselves to Jesus’ sacred heart, observe the first Friday of each month by participating in Mass and receiving Holy Communion, display an image of the sacred heart in their homes and honor it by living under Jesus’ lordship, and use approved prayers including the morning (or daily) offering and the litany of the sacred heart.53 Promises of Sacred Heart concerning First Fridays:  http://www.theworkofgod.org/12promis.htm   “I promise you, in the excessive mercy of my heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance; they shall not die in my disgrace nor without receiving the sacraments; my divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in that last moment.”
1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.
2. I will give peace in their families.
3. I will console them in all their troubles.
4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.
12. The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at the last hour. 
SAINT MARGARET MARY ALACOQUE, Virgin, c.1647-1690.       
St. Vincent de Paul adoration chapel,  Parish information. “Our is a beautiful cut limestone chapel with a ceiling over 42 feet high with a 28 foot tall stained glass window depicting the Holy Spirit.  Our chapel has adorers seven days a week, 24 hours a day.  And it has large ceremonial doors that lead out into the sanctuary.  The tabernacle with Jesus sits in the very center”     
II Kings 18: 1 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. 3 And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. 4 He removed the high places, and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had burned incense to it; it was called Nehushtan.     Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible. Welcome to the Catholic Church, Harmony Media.  Bronze Serpent.  A figure set up by Moses at the command of God. Those who were bitten by the fiery serpents in the desert were cured by looking at the brazen (bronze) serpent (Num. 21:6-9). Our Lord refers to it as a type of Himself (John 3:14). However, it did not have power in itself to heal (Wis. 16:6-7). It later became an object of idolatrous worship and King Hezekiah destroyed it (2 Kings 18:4).