Be like a child (Lk 18:17-18:17)

“Truly!

I say to you!

Whoever does not receive

The kingdom of God

As a little child

Will never enter it.”

 

ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ ὡς παιδίον, οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them with a solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that whoever did not receive (ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται) the kingdom of God (τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) as a little child (ὡς παιδίον) would never enter it (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν).  This Jesus saying put an emphasis on becoming a child to enter the kingdom.  Similar comments can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:15, as well as Matthew, chapters 18:3, with some minor changes.  Mark said that Jesus made a solemn proclamation “Truly! I say to you!’ (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).”  They had to receive the kingdom of God (ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) like a little child (ὡς παιδίον).  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of God (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς αὐτήν).  Pure and simple, they had to have the attitude of a young child to enter the kingdom of God, just Luke mentioned here, almost word for word.  Matthew indicated that Jesus called or summoned a little child (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος παιδίον).  He placed this little child in the middle of his disciples (ἔστησεν αὐτὸ ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν).  Then he made a solemn proclamation ‘Truly! I say to you!’ (καὶ εἶπεν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  They had to change or convert to become like little children (ἐὰν μὴ στραφῆτε καὶ γένησθε ὡς τὰ παιδία).  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of heaven (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Whoever became humble like this little child in their midst (ὅστις οὖν ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὡς τὸ παιδίον τοῦτο), would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ μείζων ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν).  The greatest in heaven would be the simple humble little children or those who acted like children, without power and dependent on other people.  Luke and Mark did not have a long explanation about being humble like this little child to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Notice also that once again, Matthew emphasized the kingdom of heaven and not the kingdom of God.  Are you humble like a little child?

 

Someone from the dead (Lk 16:30-16:30)

“The rich man said.

‘No!

Father Abraham!

If someone

Goes to them

From the dead,

They will repent.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Οὐχί, πάτερ Ἀβραάμ, ἀλλ’ ἐάν τις ἀπὸ νεκρῶν πορευθῇ πρὸς αὐτοὺς, μετανοήσουσιν.

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that the rich man said no (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) to Abraham, calling him father (Οὐχί, πάτερ Ἀβραάμ), that if someone from the dead went to them (ἀλλ’ ἐάν τις ἀπὸ νεκρῶν πορευθῇ πρὸς αὐτοὺς), they would repent or change their ways, have a metanoia (μετανοήσουσιν).  This rich man thought that a miraculous showing of a dead man would make his brothers change their minds and their lifestyles.  What would make you change your lifestyle?

Write your debt in half (Lk 16:6-16:6)

“The man answered.

‘A hundred jugs

Of olive oil.’

This manager

Said to him.

Take your bill!

Sit down quickly!

Make it fifty!’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἑκατὸν βάτους ἐλαίου. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Δέξαι σου τὰ γράμματα καὶ καθίσας ταχέως γράψον πεντήκοντα

 

This parable story about the dishonest household manager or steward can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that this debtor answered (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) that he owed a 100 jugs or baths of olive oil (Ἑκατὸν βάτους ἐλαίου).  Once again, Luke used a word that does not appear any other place in the biblical literature, βάτους, that means a bath, an Israelite liquid measure, between eight and nine gallons.  Thus, this unjust house manager said to this debtor (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) to take his bill (Δέξαι σου τὰ γράμματα).  Then sitting down, quickly change it to 50 (καὶ καθίσας ταχέως γράψον πεντήκοντα).  This would have been a 50% reduction from about 800 gallons of olive oil to 400 gallons.  That was a nice gesture.  Would his master and lord like that?  Have you ever tried to reduce your debt?

Beware children of Abraham! (Lk 3:8-3:9)

“Bear fruits

Worthy of repentance!

Do not begin

To say to yourselves!

‘We have Abraham

As our ancestor!’

I tell you!

‘God is able

From these stones

To raise up children

To Abraham.

Even now,

The ax is lying

At the root of the trees.

Every tree

That does not bear

Good fruit

Is cut down

And thrown

Into the fire.’”

 

ποιήσατε οὖν καρποὺς ἀξίους τῆς μετανοίας· καὶ μὴ ἄρξησθε λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ· λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι δύναται ὁ Θεὸς ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων ἐγεῖραι τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ.

ἤδη δὲ καὶ ἡ ἀξίνη πρὸς τὴν ῥίζαν τῶν δένδρων κεῖται· πᾶν οὖν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται.

 

Here is the first of the sayings from the so-called Q source.  Both Matthew, chapter 3:9-10, and Luke here have the exact same wording in their presentations of John’s preaching to the people.  Instead of just the Pharisees and Sadducees, Luke has John address this to all the people coming to be baptized.  This saying emphasized deeds, rather than relying on ancestry.  They were to produce fruit that was worthy of repentance (ποιήσατε οὖν καρποὺς ἀξίους τῆς μετανοίας).  They had to perform good deeds.  They should not presume that because they have had Abraham as their father, as the privileged chosen ones (καὶ μὴ ἄρξησθε λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ), that all would go well for them.  Then John pointedly said to them (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν) that God had the power (ὅτι δύναται ὁ Θεὸς) to change stones and rocks into the children of Abraham (ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων ἐγεῖραι τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ), a Hebrew play on words that was translated into Greek.  The axe was already lying at the foot of the trees, ready to go to work (ἤδη δὲ καὶ ἡ ἀξίνη πρὸς τὴν ῥίζαν τῶν δένδρων κεῖται).  Every tree that was not bearing or producing good fruit would be cut down (πᾶν οὖν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται).  Then they would be thrown into the fire (καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται).

The plot to arrest Jesus (Mt 26:4-26:5)

“They conspired

To arrest Jesus

Secretly.

They plotted

To kill him.

But they said.

‘Not during the festival!

There may be a riot

Among the people.’”

 

καὶ συνεβουλεύσαντο ἵνα τὸν Ἰησοῦν δόλῳ κρατήσωσιν καὶ ἀποκτείνωσιν·

ἔλεγον δέ Μὴ ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ, ἵνα μὴ θόρυβος γένηται ἐν τῷ λαῷ.

 

This is almost word for word to Mark, chapter 14:1-2, and somewhat similar to Luke, chapter 22:2.  Matthew said that these elders and priests conspired or plotted (καὶ συνεβουλεύσαντο) to arrest Jesus (ἵνα τὸν Ἰησοῦν κρατήσωσιν) and kill him (καὶ ἀποκτείνωσιν·) by some secret deceitful trick (δόλῳ).  However, they did not want to do it during the Passover festival (ἔλεγον δέ Μὴ ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ).  They were afraid that there might be a disturbing riot among the people (ἵνα μὴ θόρυβος γένηται ἐν τῷ λαῷ).  What made them change their minds?

A child is the greatest (Mt 18:2-18:4)

“Jesus summoned a little child.

He put him

Among them.

He said.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

Unless you change,

Unless you become

Like little children,

You will never enter

The kingdom of heaven.

Whoever becomes humble

Like this little child,

Will be the greatest

In the kingdom of heaven.’”

 

καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος παιδίον ἔστησεν αὐτὸ ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν

καὶ εἶπεν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ στραφῆτε καὶ γένησθε ὡς τὰ παιδία, οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν.

ὅστις οὖν ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὡς τὸ παιδίον τοῦτο, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ μείζων ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν.

 

This saying about the humble child as the greatest in heaven can also be found in Mark, chapters 9:36 and 10:15, as well as Luke, chapters 9:47 and 18:16-17, with some minor changes.  Jesus put an emphasis on becoming like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus called or summoned a little child (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος παιδίον).  He placed this little child in the middle of his disciples (ἔστησεν αὐτὸ ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν).  Then he made a solemn proclamation ‘Truly! I say to you!’ (καὶ εἶπεν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  They had to change or convert to become like little children (ἐὰν μὴ στραφῆτε καὶ γένησθε ὡς τὰ παιδία).  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of heaven (οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Whoever became humble like this little child in their midst (ὅστις οὖν ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὡς τὸ παιδίον τοῦτο), would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ μείζων ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν).  The greatest in heaven would be the simple humble little children or those who acted like children, without power and dependent on other people.

Renewed Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church was the slowest to change.  Change was considered Protestant, a threat to the institution.  For many the implementation of Vatican II was overwhelming, with a lot of misunderstanding.  A change in form does not mean a change in substance.  The unchanging deposit of faith is one thing, but how to present it is another.  The problem is that today the medium is the message.  The Mystery of the Christian message surpasses the possibilities of formulation.  Real development of understanding is natural.  Guided by the Holy Spirit, the People of God, the Church, has retrieved some of the biblical and ancient traditions of the early Church.  This is not a corruption of faith, but a revival of a rich past engaging the world critically.  The Church is always changing using eternal truths in new expressions.