30 November 2011

Quote


When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it - always.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

29 November 2011

Desires


MAY I speak each day according to Thy justice,
Each day may I show Thy chastening, O God;
May I speak each day according to Thy wisdom,
Each day and night may I be at peace with Thee.
Each day may I count the causes of Thy mercy,
May I each day give heed to Thy laws;
Each day may I compose to Thee a song,
May I harp each day Thy praise, O God.
May I each day give love to Thee, Jesu,
Each night may I do the same;
Each day and night, dark and light,
May I laud Thy goodness to me, O God.

28 November 2011

The Guardian Angel


THOU angel of God who hast charge of me
From the dear Father of mercifulness,
The shepherding kind of the fold of the saints
To make round about me this night;
Drive from me every temptation and danger,
Surround me on the sea of unrighteousness,
And in the narrows, crooks, and straits,
Keep thou my coracle, keep it always.
Be thou a bright flame before me,
Be thou a guiding star above me,
Be thou a smooth path below me,
And be a kindly shepherd behind me,
To-day, to-night, and for ever.
I am tired and I a stranger,
Lead thou me to the land of angels;
For me it is time to go home
To the court of Christ, to the peace of heaven.

27 November 2011

Weekly Gospel Reflection - 27 November 2011


Mark 13:24-37 (CEB): “In those days, after the suffering of that time, the sun will become dark, and the moon won’t give its light. The stars will fall from the sky, and the planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken. Then they will see the Human One coming in the clouds with great power and splendor. Then he will send the angels and gather together his chosen people from the four corners of the earth, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.

“Learn this parable from the fig tree. After its branch becomes tender and it sprouts new leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, you know that he’s near, at the door. I assure you that this generation won’t pass away until all these things happen. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away.

“But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the angels in heaven and not the Son. Only the Father knows. Watch out! Stay alert! You don’t know when the time is coming. It is as if someone took a trip, left the household behind, and put the servants in charge, giving each one a job to do, and told the doorkeeper to stay alert. Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know when the head of the household will come, whether in the evening or at midnight, or when the rooster crows in the early morning or at daybreak. Don’t let him show up when you weren’t expecting and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: Stay alert!”

Here we go again! This passage comes before the previous three passages from Matthew that we have looked at in the last three weeks and is a parallel passage to Matthew 24.29-44. And, the way we have been taught to reading this passage, we assume that it’s talking about the end of the world, especially since there are such cataclysmic cosmic happenings.

‘There’s no way,’ some have said, ‘that this has already happened since something of that magnitude would completely destroy the universe.’

And that’s absolutely true . . . if these were to be read and understood in a wooden literal sense.

But they aren’t.

Jesus was using the language of apocalyptic literature. In that type of literature, cosmic destruction language is used to refer to the complete destruction of a nation or nations. We can see this clearly in various passages from the Jewish Scriptures. For example:

Isaiah 34:1-5 (CEB): Draw near, you nations, to hear; and listen, you peoples. Hear, earth and all who fill it, world and all its offspring. The LORD rages against all the nations, and is angry with all their armies. God is about to wipe them out and has prepared them for slaughter. Their dead will be cast out, the stench of their corpses will rise, and the mountains will melt from their blood. All the stars of heaven will dissolve, the skies will roll up like a scroll, and all the stars will fall, like a leaf withering from a vine, like fruit from a fig tree. When my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens, it will descend upon Edom for judgment, upon a people I have doomed for destruction.

This prophecy was against Edom (verse 5). This was fulfilled in 721 BCE by Assyria. Please note that the ‘mountains melt[ed]’, the ‘stars of heaven dissolv[ed]’, the ‘skies roll[ed] up like a scroll’, etc. In other words, ‘heaven and earth’ were destroyed. But, did those things literally happen when the Assyrians destroyed Edom? If they did, where is the passage that states that God created a ‘new world’ because that ‘old world’ was destroyed? There isn’t one. That’s because these are poetic terms referring to the judgment of Edom.

In another passage, we read:

Zephaniah 1:1-4, 14-18 (CEB): The LORD’s word that came to Zephaniah, Cushi’s son, Gedaliah’s grandson, Amariah’s great-grandson, and Hezekiah’s great-great-grandson in the days of Judah’s King Josiah, Amon’s son.

I will wipe out everything from the earth, says the LORD. I will destroy humanity and the beasts; I will destroy the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea. I will make the wicked into a heap of ruins; I will eliminate humanity from the earth, says the LORD.

I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will eliminate what’s left of Baal from this place and the names of the priests of foreign gods . . .

The great day of the LORD is near; it is near and coming very quickly. The sound of the day of the LORD is bitter. A warrior screams there.

That day is a day of fury, a day of distress and anxiety, a day of desolation and devastation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and deep darkness, a day for blowing the trumpet and alarm against their invincible cities and against their high towers.

I will make humanity suffer; they will walk like the blind because they sinned against the LORD. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their intestines like manure.

Moreover, their silver and their gold won’t be able to deliver them on the day of the LORD’s fury. His jealousy will devour the entire land with fire; he will make an end, a truly horrible one, for all the inhabitants of the land.

This is a prophecy against Judah and Jerusalem (verse 4). It was fulfilled in 587 BCE by the Babylonians. Note the destruction of all humanity and animals, including birds and fish; the ‘great day of the Lord’ is ‘coming very quickly’. There’s suffering and spilled blood and the land being devoured by fire and the complete slaughter of all humanity. Again, we must ask, did these things literally happen when Jerusalem fell? No. Just like our previous example, these terms are to be seen as poetic references to the judgment upon the nation.

What we need to see from these references are the parallels of Jesus words in the Synoptic Gospels (as well as John’s visions in Revelation). We can’t interpret them by our modern definitions. They should not be stripped from their contexts and forced into a preconceived idea about what they mean. They must be kept in their contexts, both scripturally and historically. When this is done we can see that those things were not actually destroyed. They represent the destruction of the ‘world’ to whom the prophecy was given.

In the Gospel reading for this week, it’s the same thing. Jesus was telling the disciples (he used the personal pronoun ‘you’ roughly ten times) about the coming destruction of the Temple and city - just like they asked of him (see Mark 13.1-4 CEB). He is telling them the way a Jewish prophet would, using the same type of language that was used for thousands of years throughout their history to describe similar events.

With that in mind, we can properly interpret the mystical statements about not knowing the day or hour. When I tell people that Jesus was talking about the soon coming war with Rome that ended with the destruction of the Temple and city in 70 CE (and the last Jewish stronghold of Masada 3 ½ years later in 73 CE), they immediately quote this verse (and the others from the Matthew and Luke). The argument is something like, ‘That can’t be right because Jesus said we won’t know the day or hour!’ Well, of course! If we were standing with them then, we wouldn’t know when it was coming! We can know now, almost two thousand years later. But, at the time, we would be in the dark, just like they were. However, the context is quite clear. These would be things that the first century Christians would witness and experience - not us.

So, be of good cheer this holiday season. These things are history!



~~~
In the Love of the Three in One,

Br Jack+, LC

26 November 2011

The Cross of the Saints and of the Angels


THE cross of the saints and of the angels with me
From the top of my face to the edge of my soles.
         +         +         +
O Michael mild, O Mary of glory,
O gentle Bride of the locks of gold,
Preserve ye me in the weakly body,
The three preserve me on the just path.
     Oh! three preserve me on the just path.
Preserve ye me in the soul-shrine poor,
Preserve ye me, and I so weak and naked,
Preserve ye me without offence on the way,
The preservation of the three upon me to-night.
     Oh! the three to shield me to-night.

25 November 2011

The Lightener of the Stars


BEHOLD the Lightener of the stars
On the crests of the clouds,
And the choralists of the sky
     Lauding Him.
Coming down with acclaim
From the Father above,
Harp and lyre of song
     Sounding to Him.
Christ, Thou refuge of my love,
Why should not I raise Thy fame!
Angels and saints melodious
     Singing to Thee.
Thou Son of the Mary of graces,
Of exceeding white purity of beauty,
Joy were it to me to be in the fields
     Of Thy riches.
O Christ my beloved,
O Christ of the Holy Blood,
By day and by night
     I praise Thee.

The Rock of Rocks


ON the Rock of rocks,
The peace of Peter and Paul,
Of James and John the beloved,
And of the pure perfect Virgin,
     The pure perfect Virgin.
The peace of the Father of joy,
The peace of the Christ of pasch,
The peace of the Spirit of grace,
To ourselves and to our children,
    Ourselves and our children.

23 November 2011

Jesu Who Ought to be Praised

IT were as easy for Jesu
To renew the withered tree
As to wither the new
Were it His will so to do.
     Jesu! Jesu! Jesu!
     Jesu! meet it were to praise Him.
There is no plant in the ground
But is full of His virtue,
There is no form in the strand
But is full of His blessing.
     Jesu! Jesu! Jesu!
     Jesu! meet it were to praise Him.
There is no life in the sea,
There is no creature in the river,
There is naught in the firmament,
But proclaims His goodness.
     Jesu! Jesu! Jesu!
     Jesu! meet it were to praise Him.
There is no bird on the wing,
There is no star in the sky,
There is nothing beneath the sun,
But proclaims His goodness.
     Jesu! Jesu! Jesu!
     Jesu! meet it were to praise Him.

22 November 2011

Prayer for Protection


As Thou art the Shepherd over the flock
Tend Thou us to the cot and the fold,
Sain us beneath Thine own glorious mantle;
      Thou Shield of protection, guard us for ever,
Be Thou a hard triumphant slave
To shield us securely from wicked hell,
From the fiends and from the stieve snell gullies,
      And from the lurid smoke of the abyss.
Be my soul in the trustance of the High King,
Be Michael the powerful meeting my soul.

21 November 2011

A Prayer for Grace


I AM bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who died for me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
     In love and desire.
Pour down upon us from heaven
The rich blessing of Thy forgiveness;
Thou who art uppermost in the City,
     Be Thou patient with us.
Grant to us, Thou Saviour of Glory,
The fear of God, the love of God, and His affection,
And the will of God to do on earth at all times
As angels and saints do in heaven;
Each day and night give us Thy peace.
     Each day and night give us Thy peace.

20 November 2011

Weekly Gospel Reflection - 20 November 2011


Matthew 25:31-46 (CEB): “Now when the Human One comes in his majesty and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his majestic throne. All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right side. But the goats he will put on his left.

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’

“Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.”

“Okay,” someone will say, “surely in this passage Jesus was referring to the end of the world. Jesus talks about the judgment of ‘all the nations’. This has to be the judgment for the end. Right?”

Well, some people think so. They follow the same type of logic. They will agree that the previous passages were about the judgment coming upon Jerusalem and the Temple but this passage, with ‘all the nations’ has to be the judgment at the end of the world. But I don’t think so.

Again, the context of this story is the same as the previous ones. Jesus was still answering the disciples question(s) about when the Temple would be destroyed. There is nothing within the context that shows this to be about the ‘end of the world’. That is just us reading that into the text. We have to get our minds around ‘end of the world’ language in a local judgment setting. All throughout the Jewish prophets this type of language was used to depict local judgments (see: Isaiah 34.1-5; Zephania 1.1-4, 14-18). If nothing else, Jesus was a Jewish prophet (as most people will attest). His declarations were clear and came to pass within that generation, just as he said they would (Matthew 23.36 CEB; Matthew 24.34 CEB; cf. Matthew 11.16 CEB; Matthew 12.41-42 CEB; Matthew 17.17 CEB).

Another point that is often brought up is last sentence, ‘And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.’

“This,” it is said, “obviously points to the last judgment as seen in Revelation 20.11-15.”

Not necessarily. The passage doesn’t state when those judged will go - just that they will. I think the immediate context leads us to seeing these words as  immediate consequence for their actions. Look again at the second paragraph. Jesus said, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began.’ When do we ‘inherit the kingdom’? Do we only ‘inherit the kingdom’ at the ‘last judgment’? No. We inherit the kingdom now, in this life.

Jesus once more points the accusing finger at the religious opposition of his day. They assumed that there wouldn’t be an issue because they were the physical decedents of Abraham. Over and over again Jesus countered that type of thinking (for example see Matthew 15.1-14 CEB) as did John the Baptist (see Matthew 3.8-10 CEB) as did St Paul (see Romans 2.25ff CEB; cf. Galatians 6.11ff CEB). It was because of that type of thinking that the entire nation would be held accountable (Matthew 23.37ff CEB; Luke 19.41-44 CEB).

I know a lot of people don’t like to think about things like this. However, Jesus is keeping in line with the way the prophets used to think and preach. One of the reasons we don’t like to think about this is because we are putting our understanding of things into that world. This is called eisegesis. One of the things that we have to try to do is figure out how the original audience would have understood what was being communicated to them. It’s a difficult process but well worth the effort!



~~~
In the Love of the Three in One,

Br Jack+, LC

19 November 2011

Worldly Corruption


James 1:27 (CEB): True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us.

‘Keep the world from contaminating us.’ Many times, I’ve heard that to mean ‘sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll’ (or there abouts). But I don’t think that’s what St. James was getting at here. It’s seem pretty clear that ‘worldly corruption’ would be just the opposite of what St James admonished his audience - namely, not taking care of orphans and widows in their difficulties would be ‘worldly corruption’.

This is the same that Jesus talked about in his story in Matthew 25. A story that has it’s place of fulfillment with the lives of his contemporaries, but the message is clearly applicable for all generations. There, Jesus said:

Matthew 25:31-46 (CEB): “Now when the Human One comes in his majesty and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his majestic throne. All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right side. But the goats he will put on his left.

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’

“Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.”

From this story, we can clearly see that not helping ‘one of the least of these’ is true ‘worldly corruption.’ And you know what? We have been corrupted. All of us. The Psalmist wrote, ‘Everyone is corrupt’ (Psalm 14.3 CEB). None of us are exempt from this. Part of the human addiction is greed and selfishness. But Christ calls us to a different Way, his Way, the Way of the Human One, the Way of True Humanity.

The Gospel of Luke tells a story about this Way of Living:

A legal expert stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to gain eternal life?”

Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?”

He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”

But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right, so he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He encountered thieves, who stripped him naked, beat him up, and left him near death. Now it just so happened that a priest was also going down the same road. When he saw the injured man, he crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. Likewise, a Levite came by that spot, saw the injured man, and crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds, tending them with oil and wine. Then he placed the wounded man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day, he took two full days’ worth of wages and gave them to the innkeeper. He said, ‘Take care of him, and when I return, I will pay you back for any additional costs.’ What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?”

Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

‘Go and do likewise.’ Notice that this story is the response of practically living out the way of ‘eternal life’. Doing these things, living that type of life is the Way that leads to the Life of God (‘eternal life’).

St James admonition is to make sure that we are not corrupted into looking to ourselves only. The way to do that is to love God, love neighbors, and love enemies. And the practical outworking of ‘love’ is taking care of others, especially the poor, widowed, orphaned, the marginalized. We must ‘stop takin’ and start givin . . . lovin’ one another is the only thing real’ (Trevor Hall - Good Rain). It is in doing that - in living that Way - that we ‘gain eternal life’.



~~~
In the Love of the Three in One,

Br Jack+, LC

18 November 2011

The Guiding Light of Eternity

O GOD, who broughtst me from the rest of last night
Unto the joyous light of this day,
Be Thou bringing me from the new light of this day
Unto the guiding light of eternity.
     Oh! from the new light of this day
     Unto the guiding light of eternity.

Brave

I can't hardly wait!


17 November 2011

Bless, O Chief of Generous Chiefs


BLESS, O Chief of generous chiefs,
Myself and everything anear me,
Bless me in all my actions,
Make Thou me safe for ever,
       Make Thou me safe for ever.
From every brownie and ban-shee,
From every evil wish and sorrow,
From every nymph and water-wraith,
From every fairy-mouse and grass-mouse,
       From every fairy-mouse and grass-mouse.
From every troll among the hills,
From every siren hard pressing me,
From every ghoul within the glens,
Oh! save me till the end of my day.
       Oh! save me till the end of my day.

16 November 2011

Rune of the 'Muthairn'


THOU King of the moon,
Thou King of the sun,
Thou King of the planets,
Thou King of the stars,
Thou King of the globe,
Thou King of the sky,
Oh! lovely Thy countenance,
Thou beauteous Beam.
Two loops of silk
Down by thy limbs,
Smooth-skinned;
Yellow jewels
And a handful
Out of every stock of them.

15 November 2011

A Prayer

O God,
In my deeds,
In my words,
In my wishes,
In my reason,
And in the fulfilling of my desires,
In my sleep,
In my dreams,
In my repose,
In my thoughts,
In my heart and soul always,
May the blessed Virgin Mary,
And the promised Branch of Glory dwell,
    Oh! in my heart and soul always,
    May the blessed Virgin Mary,
    And the fragrant Branch of Glory dwell.

14 November 2011

Holy Father of Glory

THANKS be to Thee, Holy Father of Glory,
Father kind, ever-loving, ever-powerful,
Because of all the abundance, favour, and deliverance
That Thou bestowest upon us in our need.
Whatever providence befalls us as thy children,
In our portion, in our lot, in our path,
Give to us with it the rich gifts of Thine hand
And the joyous blessing of Thy mouth.

We are guilty and polluted, O God,
In spirit, in heart, and in flesh,
In thought, in word, in act,
We are hard in Thy sight in sin.
Put Thou forth to us the power of Thy love,
Be thou leaping over the mountains of our transgressions,
And wash us in the true blood of conciliation,
Like the down of the mountain, like the lily of the lake.

In the steep common path of our calling,
Be it easy or uneasy to our flesh,
Be it bright or dark for us to follow,
Thine own perfect guidance be upon us.
Be Thou a shield to us from the wiles of the deceiver,
From the arch-destroyer with his arrows pursuing us,
And in each secret thought our minds get to weave,
Be Thou Thyself on our helm and at our sheet.

Though dogs and thieves would reive us from the fold,
Be Thou the valiant Shepherd of glory near us.
Whatever matter or cause or propensity,
That would bring to us grief, or pains, or wounds,
Or that would bear witness against us at the last,
On the other side of the great river of dark shadows,
Oh! do Thou obscure it from our eyes,
And from our hearts drive it for ever.

Now to the Father who created each creature,
Now to the Son who paid ransom for His people,
Now to the Holy Spirit, Comforter of might:--
Shield and sain us from every wound;
Be about the beginning and end of our race,
Be giving us to sing in glory,
In peace, in rest, in reconciliation,
Where no tear shall be shed, where death comes no more.
Where no tear shall be shed, where death comes no more.

Weekly Gospel Reflection - 13 November 2011


Matthew 25:14-30 (CEB): “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who was leaving on a trip. He called his servants and handed his possessions over to them. To one he gave five valuable coins, and to another he gave two, and to another he gave one. He gave to each servant according to that servant’s ability. Then he left on his journey.

“After the man left, the servant who had five valuable coins took them and went to work doing business with them. He gained five more. In the same way, the one who had two valuable coins gained two more. But the servant who had received the one valuable coin dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.

“Now after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five valuable coins came forward with five additional coins. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Excellent! You are a good and faithful servant! You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’

“The second servant also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done! You are a good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’

“Now the one who had received one valuable coin came and said, ‘Master, I knew that you are a hard man. You harvest grain where you haven’t sown. You gather crops where you haven’t spread seed. o I was afraid. And I hid my valuable coin in the ground. Here, you have what’s yours.’

“His master replied, ‘You evil and lazy servant! You knew that I harvest grain where I haven’t sown and that I gather crops where I haven’t spread seed? In that case, you should have turned my money over to the bankers so that when I returned, you could give me what belonged to me with interest. Therefore take from him the valuable coin and give it to the one who has ten coins. Those who have much will receive more, and they will have more than they need. But as for those who don’t have much, even the little bit they have will be taken away from them. Now take the worthless servant and throw him outside into the darkness.’

“People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.

The story that Jesus tells here really bothers a lot of people. They don’t like to think that God is the ‘Master’ in the story. But I think God is the Master of the story. Neither the story nor some of the elements are to be taken literally. The point of the story is the same as the last one. Jesus is not talking to us about us ‘wasting our talents’ as some preachers have stated. The point of the story is to show what will happen to the first century religious opposition. The Jewish people that rejected what God was doing through the life of Jesus would be held responsible for their actions and intentions. In Luke’s account of Jesus riding into Jerusalem, we have:

As Jesus came to the city and observed it, he wept over it. He said, “If only you knew on this of all days the things that lead to peace. But now they are hidden from your eyes. The time will come when your enemies will build fortifications around you, encircle you, and attack you from all sides. They will crush you completely, you and the people within you. They won’t leave one stone on top of another within you, because you didn’t recognize the time of your gracious visit from God” (Luke 19.41-44 CEB).

That is what these stories are about. He told them to his disciples when they asked him to elaborate on his proclamation about the destruction of the Temple (Matthew 24). And, in true form as a Prophet in the Jewish Tradition, Jesus attributes this coming destruction as God’s judgment upon them. Whether we think God works this way or not is not important. Again, these stories aren’t directed to us. They are not about us. In much the same St Paul wrote that the Jewish Scriptures were written for them (1Corinthians 10.11 CEB), these New Testament stories were written for us.

And, historically speaking, justice was meted out during the war of the Jews with the Romans. On more than one occasion, both the Romans and the witness testimony indicated that what happened during that war was the result of God’s justice against that generation of the Jewish nation.

What can we take from this? Considering that this story is about what the Realm of God is like, I’d say that we can say God’s Realm is about justice. It’s about what is done in this Realm and matters (see 1Corinthians 3.12-15 CEB; cf. 1Corinthians 15.58 CEB). It’s about rescuing the marginalized, the outcast, and the persecuted from the powers that continue to rebel against God and the ways of God.



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In the Love of the Three in One,

Br Jack+, LC

11 November 2011

Daily Gospel Reflection - 11 November 2011


Matthew 16:13-20 (CEB): Now when Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Human One is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”

He said, “And what about you? Who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Then Jesus replied, “Happy are you, Simon son of Jonah, because no human has shown this to you. Rather my Father who is in heaven has shown you. I tell you that you are Peter. And I’ll build my church on this rock. The gates of the underworld won’t be able to stand against it. I’ll give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Anything you fasten on earth will be fastened in heaven. Anything you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven.” Then he ordered the disciples not to tell anybody that he was the Christ.

There is a lot of talk about Jesus’ meaning in this passage. A lot of people see this as ‘proof’ that Jesus would build his church on Peter, since he was the first one to recognize that Jesus was the Messiah. But, I don’t think that’s quite right.

I think Jesus meaning here is that it was Peter’s revelation concerning Jesus which would be the foundation of the church. This is attested to by St Paul when he wrote, ‘No one can lay any other foundation besides the one that is already laid, which is Jesus Christ’ (1Corinthians 3.11 CEB). Even Jesus alludes that he, not Peter, is the ‘cornerstone’ of the whole foundation (see Matthew 21.33-46 CEB and parallels). And just so that we don’t miss the point in the Gospels, while talking to the religious opposition, Peter plainly stated, ‘This Jesus is the stone you builders rejected; he has become the cornerstone’ (Acts 4.11 CEB; cf. 1Peter 2.7 CEB). That is, the revelation that Jesus is creation’s True King is the cornerstone to the whole foundation.

Furthermore, the key to this interpretation rests in Jesus’ use of the word ‘rock’.* In Luke, Jesus said:

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and don’t do what I say? I’ll show what it’s like when someone comes to me, hears my words, and puts them into practice. It’s like a person building a house by digging deep and laying the foundation on bedrock. When the flood came, the rising water smashed against that house, but the water couldn’t shake the house because it was well built.”

Here, we see that it’s not just the recognition of Jesus as Messiah but it’s living the way of Jesus, too. It starts with recognizing Jesus as creation’s True King. That is the cornerstone to the whole foundation. But it is also in walking in his Way. It is these two things that make up the foundation of the church. St Paul wrote, ‘As God’s household (i.e., the church - j+), you are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone’ (Ephesians 2.20 CEB). The ‘apostles and prophets’ lived the Way of Jesus. They, along with Christ, are our examples.

When we recognize Jesus as the Messiah and live the Way he taught and showed us, we are standing on the shoulders of the saints before us - Mary, Peter, Paul, John, Pheobe, Patrick, Brigit, Aidan, Columba, Kevin, Augustine, Aquinas, Basil, Gregory, Origen, Julian, Theresa, etc., etc. as a testimony to the Way.



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In the Love of the Three in One,


Br Jack+, LC

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* Granted, Peter’s name was changed from Cephus to ‘Peter’, which means ‘rock’. I think this was to emphasize that it was the revelation that was the ‘rock’ or foundation upon which the church would be built.