Pray (Lk 18:1-18:1)

“Then Jesus told them

A parable

About the need

To pray always.

Do not grow weary!”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς πρὸς τὸ δεῖν πάντοτε προσεύχεσθαι αὐτοὺς καὶ μὴ ἐνκακεῖν,

 

Luke is the only synoptic writer with this parable about the widow and the judge to emphasize the importance of prayer.  Right from the beginning, he had Jesus tell them the purpose of the parable, rather than a secret that they would have to figure out.  Then Jesus told them a parable (Ἔλεγεν δὲ παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς) about the need or duty to always pray (πρὸς τὸ δεῖν πάντοτε προσεύχεσθαι αὐτοὺς).  They were not to lose heart or grow weary (καὶ μὴ ἐνκακεῖν).  Do you remember to always pray?

The lord will be pleased (Lk 12:37-12:37)

“Blessed are those slaves

Whom the lord

Finds alert

When he comes!

Truly!

I say to you!

He will fasten

His belt.

He will have them

Sit down to eat.

He will come

And serve them.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ δοῦλοι ἐκεῖνοι, οὓς ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος εὑρήσει γρηγοροῦντας· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι περιζώσεται καὶ ἀνακλινεῖ αὐτοὺς καὶ παρελθὼν διακονήσει αὐτοῖς.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said blessed, happy, or fortunate (μακάριοι) would be those slaves (οἱ δοῦλοι ἐκεῖνοι) whom the lord or master (ὁ κύριος) found alert or watching (εὑρήσει γρηγοροῦντας) when he came (οὓς ἐλθὼν).  With a solemn declaration (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν), Jesus said this lord would fasten his belt (ὅτι περιζώσεται) and have them sit down or recline at table (καὶ ἀνακλινεῖ αὐτοὺς).  Thus, he would come (καὶ παρελθὼν) and serve them (διακονήσει αὐτοῖς).  Jesus stated that these alert watchful servants would be happy or blessed.  The lord (ὁ κύριος) would then serve them at table.  The motto was to be always alert.  Are you always alert to what is going on around you?

 

The final commission (Mt 28:18-28:20)

“Jesus came to them.

He said to them.

‘All authority

In heaven and on earth

Has been given to me.

Go therefore!

Make disciples

Of all nations!

Baptize them

In the name of the Father

And of the Son

And of the Holy Spirit!

Teach them

To obey everything

That I have commanded you!

Remember!

I am with you always,

To the end of the age!”

 

καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς λέγων Ἐδόθη μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος,

διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν· καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ μεθ’ ὑμῶν εἰμι πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος.

 

This is unique to Matthew, as he had Jesus give his farewell speech on this unnamed mountain top in Galilee.  The risen Jesus came to his 11 disciples (καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He told them (ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς λέγων) that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to him (Ἐδόθη μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς).  Thus, he wanted them to go forth to make disciples in all the gentile countries (πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη), since this was no longer a mere Jewish message, but a wider message to the whole world.  He wanted them to baptize people (βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς) in the name of the Father (εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Πατρὸς) and of the Son (καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ), and of the Holy Spirit (καὶ τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος).  No longer was it good enough to have the baptism of John or baptism in the name of Jesus, it had to be trinitarian, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  They were to teach people to obey everything that he had commanded them (διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν), without setting any priorities.  He told them to remember that he would always be with them until the completion of all time (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ μεθ’ ὑμῶν εἰμι πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος), the end of the world.

 

Anointing for burial (Mt 26:11-26:12)

“You will always

Have the poor

With you.

But you will not always

Have me.

By pouring this ointment

On my body

She has prepared me

For burial.”

 

πάντοτε γὰρ τοὺς πτωχοὺς ἔχετε μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν, ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε·

βαλοῦσα γὰρ αὕτη τὸ μύρον τοῦτο ἐπὶ τοῦ σώματός μου πρὸς τὸ ἐνταφιάσαι με ἐποίησεν

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:7-8, and somewhat similar to John, chapter 12:7-8.  Jesus said that they would always have the poor with them (πάντοτε γὰρ τοὺς πτωχοὺς ἔχετε μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν).  In other words, there would be no immediate solution to the difficulties of poverty that has persisted for over 2,000 years.  However, they would not always have Jesus (ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε).  She had anointed his body with oil (βαλοῦσα γὰρ αὕτη τὸ μύρον τοῦτο ἐπὶ τοῦ σώματός μου) as a preparation for his burial (πρὸς τὸ ἐνταφιάσαι με ἐποίησεν).  Instead of a royal, prophetic, or priestly anointing, this was a burial anointing according to the Jewish customs at that time.

Liars (Sir 20:24-20:26)

“A lie is an ugly blot

On a person.

It is continually

On the lips of the ignorant.

A thief is preferable

To a habitual liar.

But the lot of both

Is ruin.

A liar’s way

Leads to disgrace,

His shame is

Ever with him.”

A lie is like an ugly blot on a person. Ignorant people continually lie. A thief is better than a habitual liar, although both are headed to ruin. The way of a liar will lead to disgrace, because his shame is always with him.

Judgment day (Sir 11:23-11:28)

“Do not say.

‘What do I need?

What further benefit can be mine?’

Do not say.

‘I have enough.

What harm can come to me now?’

In the day of prosperity,

Adversity is forgotten.

In the day of adversity,

Prosperity is not remembered.

It is easy for the Lord,

On the day of death,

To reward individuals

According to their conduct.

An hour’s misery

Makes one forget past delights.

At the close of one’s life.

One’s deeds are revealed.

Call no one happy

Before his death.

By how he ends,

A person becomes known.”

Sirach warns us about judgment day. Do not say that you need anything. Do not say that you have enough, that no one can hurt you. You have to always remember that in the days of your adversity, you may forget about your days of prosperity. The reverse is also true. At the time of your prosperity, you may forget about the days of your adversity. The Lord can quickly reward people according to their conduct, at the day of their death. Sometimes a little misery makes you forget the great delights that you have enjoyed. All your deeds will be revealed at the time of your death. No one is truly happy before they die. A person will be known by how they came to their death. A good life leads to a good death.

Life is a game of chance (Eccl 9:11-9:12)

“Again I saw that under the sun.

The race is not to the swift.

Nor is the battle to the strong.

Nor is bread to the wise.

Nor is riches to the intelligent.

Nor is favor to the skillful.

But time happens to them all.

Chance happens to them all.

No one can anticipate

The time of disaster.

Like fish taken in a cruel net,

Like birds caught in a snare,

So mortals are snared

At a time of calamity.

When it suddenly falls upon them.”

Qoheleth sees human life under the sun like a game of chance. The swiftest runner does not always win the race. The strongest do not always win the battle. The wise do not always have the best food. The intelligent are not always rich. The skillful do not always succeed. Time and chance play a role. No one can predict when disaster will come. Just as fish and birds get stuck in nets and snares, so too mortals get caught when calamity suddenly happens to them.