The man with two sons (Lk 15:11-15:11)

“Then Jesus said.

‘There was a man

Who had two sons.’”

 

Εἶπεν δέ Ἄνθρωπός τις εἶχεν δύο υἱούς.

 

This unique parable in Luke continues the theme of lost things that are found.  First, it was the sheep, then the coin, but now it is a lost son.  Luke has this lovely long story about finding oneself and mending lost relationships.  He indicated that then Jesus said (Εἶπεν δέ) that there was a certain man (Ἄνθρωπός) who had 2 sons (τις εἶχεν δύο υἱούς).  This long parable story about the 2 sons can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Have you ever been estranged from a family member?

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Seek the kingdom first (Mt 6:31-6:33)

“Therefore,

Do not be anxious!

Saying.

‘What will we eat?

What will we drink?

What will we wear?’

The gentiles

Strive for all these things.

Your heavenly Father

Knows

That you need

All these things.

But strive first

For the kingdom!

Strive

For his righteousness!

Then all these things

Will be given

To you as well.”

 

μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε λέγοντες· Τί φάγωμεν; ἤ· Τί πίωμεν; ἤ· Τί περιβαλώμεθα;

πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ ἔθνη ἐπιζητοῦσιν· οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων ἁπάντων.

ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον τὴν βασιλείαν καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ, καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν.

 

Once again, Luke, chapter 12:29-31, has a similar Jesus saying, indicating a common Q source.  The same theme continues.  They should not be worried or anxious (μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε λέγοντες).  Why are they anxious about what to eat (Τί φάγωμεν), to drink (ἤ Τί πίωμεν), or to wear (ἤ·Τί περιβαλώμεθα)?  Those are the kind of questions that gentiles ask about (πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ ἔθνη ἐπιζητοῦσιν).  Matthew continued his attack on the gentile, non-Jewish people.  Their heavenly Father knew about everything that they needed (οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων ἁπάντων).  Thus, they should seek or strive first (ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον) for the kingdom (τὴν βασιλείαν) and his righteousness (καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ).  Then all these other things would be taken care of for them (καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν).  A couple of manuscripts say kingdom of God (βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ), instead of just the kingdom, but that is not in the main manuscripts.  Matthew always used the kingdom of heaven, not the kingdom of God.

Conscience Formation

For Christian Catholics there is a formation of conscience that is a lifelong task.  This development of a moral sense of right and wrong starts in the family with your parents.  This conscience formation continues as you have contacts with Church leaders and teachers.  Finally, the role of peers leads to a personal synthesis.  What should I do in this particular case?  I will act based on what my conscience has decided.  If it is poorly formed, I must still follow it.  If I differ from the teachings of the Church, I must try to figure out why I differ from the group.  We always need an informed conscience.

Yahweh will send the sword (Ezek 11:7-11:8)

“Therefore

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘The slain

Whom you have placed

Within it,

Are the meat.

The city is the pot.

But you shall be

Taken out of it.

You have feared

The sword.

I will bring the sword

Upon you!’

Says Yahweh God.”

This oracle of Yahweh continues with the theme of the dead in Jerusalem. Using the earlier proverb about the meat in the pot, Yahweh explains that the dead people are the meat and the pot is the city. They will be taken out of the pot or the city. However, the sword or death would come upon them anyway. Cleary Yahweh God has spoken.

These gods have no feeling (Bar 6:24-6:26)

“As for the gold

That these idol gods wear

For beauty,

It will not shine

Unless someone

Wipes off the tarnish.

Even when

They were being cast,

They had no feeling.

They are bought

Without regard to cost.

But there is no breath

In them.

Having no feet,

They are carried

On the shoulders of others.

They reveal

To all humans

Their worthlessness.”

This author’s diatribe against the false idols continues with an accusation that these idols have no feelings. They wear gold for beauty, but it will not shine unless someone else wipes off its tarnish. As these idols were cast in an iron furnace, they had no feelings while this was going on. However, money is not a problem with creating these idols. Even so, these expensive idol images have no breath and no feet. They have to be carried on the shoulders of others. Thus they reveal to everyone that they are worthless.

Be aware of this situation (Bar 2:16-2:18)

“O Lord!

Look down

From your holy dwelling!

Consider us!

Incline your ear!

O Lord!

Hear!

Open your eyes!

O Lord!

See!

The dead

Who are in Hades,

Whose spirit

Has been taken

From their bodies,

Will not ascribe glory

To the Lord.

They will not ascribe justice

To the Lord.

But the person

Who is deeply grieved,

Who walks bent over

Who is feeble,

Who has failing eyes,

That person

Will declare

Your glory.

They will declare

Your righteousness.

O Lord!”

This prayer of Baruch continues by asking God to look down from his heavenly holy dwelling. He should consider their situation. God should incline his ear and listen. He should open his eyes and see. The dead in Hades or Sheol have no spirit. They cannot give glory or justice to the Lord. On the other hand, those who are still living, but grieving, bent over, and feeble with poor eye sight can still declare the glory and righteousness of the Lord. Thus it is better to be alive and weak than dead.

The taunts of the enemy (Lam 3:61-3:63)

Shin

“You have heard

Their taunts!

O Yahweh!

You have heard

All their plots

Against me!

The whispers

With the murmurs

Of my assailants

Are against me

All day long.

Whether they sit

Or whether they rise,

I am the object

Of their taunt songs.”

This personalized lamentation approach continues with a complaint against his enemies who taunt him. They plot against him with whispers and murmurs all day long. Whether they are sitting around or moving about, they continue to make him the object of their taunting songs. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Shin in this acrostic poem.