Fourth Sunday Lent
When I was growing up in Blantyre my parents, especially my mother, were fans of a singer called Teresa Mullen. She was not a big name, just a local singer whose forte was Irish ballads and so on. She sang often in the Knights Club there and did a few gigs also in the Hibs Club in Motherwell and from what I gathered her gigs were always very popular. By some quirk of fate she got a gig in Larkhall where her renditions of Danny Boy and The Fields of Athenry were not received with the same enthusiasm by all accounts. If I remember rightly she was never rebooked.
It seems to me the problem was she didn’t know her audience and for anyone who wants to do well on stage that is an absolute must.
Preachers too need to know their audience. I don’t imagine that a homily written for St. Andrews, Bearsden would be appropriate for St. Margaret Mary’s in Castlemilk. The homily needs to take into account the people who are hearing it.
Jesus of course was not just a preacher but the preacher par excellence, and he knew exactly who his audience were. We are all over familiar with the parable of the Prodigal Son, we know the characters, how it starts and we know the eventual outcome.
What about the audience, do we ever think lf them? Who was the parable preached for? The answer to that question is given in St. Luke’s preliminary remarks,
The tax collectors and sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say. The parable was written not for the great and the good, the learned and the clever, but for the outsider, those who were judged as failures, the reckless and the ???
For them it offers hope and new opportunities.
It is also preached to the self righteous to put them firmly in their place, those who judge him and others saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them .”
And they are so right, and that is why I am here. What about you?