One of the lovely things about living in the Sydney area is the veritable plethora of jacaranda trees that are in full blossom at this time of the year. When I see one of these trees, I am often reminded of the beautiful tree in one corner of the main quadrangle at Sydney University, and the sage advice that was given to first year students – make sure that you have begun to study for the final exams before the first blossom appears – or else you are very likely to fail. Since the tree usually only blossoms a week or two before the exams begin, this advice had considerable gravitas!Although many students are currently undertaking exams, or waiting expectantly for their results, we should not read the parable today as if at the heart of Christianity is an exam that God will drop on us at his return. This parable, like all the ones that Jesus tells, must be read in the light of all of his teaching, and in this instance both against the whole of Matthew’s gospel and this fifth and final section of teaching (Matthew 23-25).

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Recorded at St Paul’s 8am (10’02”)

Sunday 33, Year A. Matthew 25:14-30.