|Due By (Pacific Time)||12/04/2016 10:00 pm|
THERE ARE 3 OPTIONS! YOU JUST HAVE TO CHOOSE 1!
1. One of the most difficult lessons of the Gospels is the issue of God’s generosity and forgiveness. Explain why the teachings of Jesus in the parables of the “Workers in the Vineyard” (Mt 20:1-16) and “The Prodigal Son” (Lk 15:11-32) were so difficult for Jesus’ original hearers to accept and why they remain difficult to accept. Explain the major parts of each parable in the context of Jesus’ time. Do you think that the hardest workers in the Vineyard story and the elder son in the Prodigal Son story are treated fairly? What is Jesus saying about God in these two parables? What are your own feelings about these teachings and what might they call you to do?
2. We have discussed the role of women in Jesus’ time during class. Using the stories of the Samaritan Woman (Jn 4:4-26) and the annunciation birth of Jesus in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew (especially Lk 1:26-38), explain how women were valued or not valued in Jesus’ time. For example, what is the background of the Samaritan woman? Why is she at the well in the middle of the day and not at the start? How would others have seen her? How does Jesus see and treat her? Why is it important that the woman returns to her village to witness to Jesus? Likewise, what was Mary’s situation when the angel Gabriel appeared to her with God’s request? Why was it dangerous for a girl in Mary’s situation to be pregnant? How does Joseph respond to the situation? Finally, do you see any ways that Jesus changes these attitudes towards women in society? Does this have any applications for you today?
3. In the Gospel of St. John, Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at a well (John 4: 1- 42). Explain the importance of this meeting: who is this woman? What is a Samaritan? How did Jews and Samaritans relate to one another? What can we know about her past life and possible sins and/or pain? Why is it surprising that Jesus would talk to her at all? Why is it significant that they meet at a well? What role does water play in the story? Personal witness is an important theme in John’s Gospel: how does this woman’s personal witness influence others from her city? We spoke about Martin Buber’s philosophy of “I-Thou” and “I-It” relationships: briefly explain what that means and how it relates to this story. Can you make any connections between what Buber describes as “I-Thou” / “I-It” relationships and how Jesus treats people in Scripture, especially in this story? Are there any connections you can make between these ideas and your own chosen vocation in life?
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