The excuse of new property (Lk 14:18-14:18)

“But they all alike

Began

To make excuses.

The first said to him.

‘I have bought

A piece of land.

I must go out

To see it.

Please!

Accept my regrets!”

 

καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι. ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα, καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην ἐξελθὼν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με παρῃτημένον.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they all began to make excuses, to excuse themselves (καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι).  The first one said to the slave (ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he had just bought a piece of land (Ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα).  Thus, he had to go out to see it (καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην ἐξελθὼν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν).  Therefore, he politely (ἐρωτῶ σε) wanted to be excused from going to the banquet (ἔχε με παρῃτημένον).  Matthew, chapter 22:3-5, said that they would not come or did not wish to come (καὶ οὐκ ἤθελον ἐλθεῖν), without giving excuses.  Now, this was a problem.  They have refused an invitation to the wedding banquet of God, the Father, the king.  He had sent his slaves, the prophets or the apostles, to call them, but they still did not want to come to the wedding feast.  In fact, Matthew said that the invitees made light of these inviting slaves.  They disregarded or disrespected (οἱ δὲ ἀμελήσαντες) the invitation.  They simply went on with their daily lives.  They went (ἀπῆλθον) either to their own farm field (ὃς μὲν εἰς τὸν ἴδιον ἀγρόν), or to their trading business (ὃς δὲ ἐπὶ τὴν ἐμπορίαν αὐτοῦ).  They were too busy to go to a wedding feast.  Have you ever been too busy to go to a wedding reception?

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The Angel Gabriel goes to Nazareth (Lk 1:26-1:26)

“In the sixth month,

The angel Gabriel

Was sent

By God

To a town

In Galilee

Called Nazareth.”

 

Ἐν δὲ τῷ μηνὶ τῷ ἕκτῳ ἀπεστάλη ὁ ἄγγελος Γαβριὴλ ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰς πόλιν τῆς Γαλιλαίας ᾗ ὄνομα Ναζαρὲθ,

 

Luke has the angel Gabriel busy again.  He said that in the 6th month (Ἐν δὲ τῷ μηνὶ τῷ ἕκτῳ) since the conception of John, God (ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ) sent this angel Gabriel (ἀπεστάλη ὁ ἄγγελος Γαβριὴλ) to a town in Galilee (εἰς πόλιν τῆς Γαλιλαίας), called Nazareth (ᾗ ὄνομα Ναζαρὲθ).  Gabriel moved from Jerusalem to Nazareth at the request of God.  Galilee was a region in the north, as opposed to Judea that was in the south.

Manual work versus wisdom (Sir 38:24-38:26)

“The wisdom of the scribe

Depends on the opportunity

Of leisure.

Only the one who has little business

Can become wise.

How can one become wise

Who handles the plow?

How can one become wise

Who glories in the shaft of a goad?

How can one become wise

Who drives oxen?

How can one become wise

Who is occupied with their work?

How can one become wise

Whose talk is about bulls?

He sets his heart on plowing furrows.

He is careful about fodder

For the heifers.”

Sirach recognizes that you cannot be a wise writer if you do not have leisure time. If you are doing business deals, you do not have time for wisdom. Most people were too busy with getting their oxen moving a plow, in the good old days before John Deere tractors. If you are occupied with your work in the fields, and taking care of bulls and heifers, how would you have any leisure time to be wise?

Relax (Sir 11:10-11:11)

“My child!

Do not busy yourself

With many matters!

If you multiply activities,

You will not be held blameless.

If you pursue,

You will not overtake.

By fleeing,

You will not escape.

There are those

Who work,

Who struggle,

Who hurry,

But they are

So much the more in want.”

Sirach has some advice for those who are busy, relax! Do not be busy with lots of things. If you try to overtake someone, you probably will not. If you try to escape, you probably will not. Just look at those who are working so hard. They are struggling. They are in a hurry. However, if you look at them, they are still needy. Much hard work does not guarantee success.

The human task (Eccl 3:9-3:11)

“What gain have the workers received

From their toil?

I have seen the business

That God has given to everyone

To be busy with.

He has made everything suitable

For its time.

Moreover,

He has put a sense of past and future

Into human minds.

Yet they cannot find out

What God has done

From the beginning to the end.”

God has given workers things to busy themselves with, but they do not know their gain or profit. Everything, however, is suitable for its time. Humans have a sense of past and future, not just the present. Despite this, they do not know what God has done from the beginning until now or what he will do in the future.

Keep me from wicked deeds (Ps 141:3-141:4)

“Set a guard over my mouth!

Yahweh!

Keep watch over the door of my lips!

Do not turn my heart to any evil!

Do not let me busy myself

With wicked deeds

In company

With those who work iniquity!

Do not let me eat of their delicacies!”

David wanted Yahweh to guard his mouth and his lips so that he would not speak evil. He wanted Yahweh to keep his heart from evil. David did not want to busy himself with wicked deeds among those who were iniquitous. He did not want to eat of the delicacies of iniquity.