Forgive others (Mk 11:25-11:25)

“Whenever you stand

Praying,

Forgive,

If you have anything

Against anyone!

Thus,

Your Father

In heaven

May also forgive you

Your trespasses.”

 

καὶ ὅταν στήκετε προσευχόμενοι, ἀφίετε εἴ τι ἔχετε κατά τινος, ἵνα καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ἀφῇ ὑμῖν τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν.

 

This saying about forgiveness seems similar to Matthew, chapter 6:14, that came right after the “Our Father” prayer.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that whenever they would stand and pray (καὶ ὅταν στήκετε προσευχόμενοι), they should forgive (ἀφίετε) others, especially if they have anything against anyone (εἴ τι ἔχετε κατά τινος).  Then their heavenly Father would forgive them (ἵνα καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ἀφῇ ὑμῖν) for their missteps or trespasses (τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν).  What are these trespasses?  The Greek word “τὰ παραπτώματα” means to fall away after being close, a lapse, a deviation from the truth, an error, a slip up, relatively unconscious, or non-deliberate.  Apparently, this was not a serious offense, something like daily implied insensitive insults.  However, they still had to forgive these trespasses of others to be forgiven by the heavenly father.  You can see how the idea of trespasses came to be so important in the “Our Father,” “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Purify the sanctuary (Ezek 45:18-45:20)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘In the first month,

On the first day

Of the month,

You shall take a young bull

Without blemish.

Purify the sanctuary!

The priest shall take

Some of the blood

Of the sin offering.

He shall put it

On the doorposts

Of the temple.

He shall put it

On the four corners

Of the ledge

Of the altar.

He shall put it

On the posts

Of the gate

Of the inner court.

You shall do the same

On the seventh day

Of the month

For any one

Who has sinned

Through error

Or ignorance.

Thus,

You shall make atonement

For the temple.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, wanted them to purify the sanctuary on the 1st day of the 1st month. In other words, this would be a New Year’s Day activity. They were to take an unblemished bull and use him to cleanse the sanctuary at the start of the new year. The priest should take some of the blood from the sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the Temple, as well as the four corners of the altar ledge and the posts of the gate of the inner court. The priest was also supposed to do this same ritual on the 7th day of the month for anyone who sinned inadvertently by error or ignorance. This purification ritual of the first day of the first month of the year would make an atonement for the Temple, so that it would be purified.

Euphrates or Parah (Jer 13:3-13:5)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me a second time.

Saying.

‘Take the loincloth

That you bought,

Since you are now wearing it.

Go now to the Euphrates!

Hide it there

In a cleft of the rock.’

So I went.

I hid it by the Euphrates,

As Yahweh commanded me.”

A second time, Yahweh came to Jeremiah and told him to take the linen loincloth that he had bought, and was wearing, to a place called Euphrates. Apparently, this was not the Euphrates River. There seems to be an error in the Hebrew, since he meant a place near his home town called Parah. This word is similar to the Hebrew word for the Euphrates River, Perath. Anyway, Jeremiah went there wearing this loincloth. Yahweh told him to hide his loincloth in a cleft or a gap in the rocks there. Jeremiah, as usual, did as he was commanded. He hid his linen loincloth in a gap in the rocks at this place called Parah or Euphrates.

Swearing oaths (Sir 23:9-23:11)

“Do not accustom your mouth

To oaths!

Do not habitually utter

The name of the Holy One!

As a servant,

Who is constantly under scrutiny,

Will not lack bruises,

So also the person

Who always swears,

Who utters the Name of God,

Will never be cleansed from sin.

Whoever swears many oaths

Is full of iniquity.

The scourge will not leave his house.

If he swears in error,

His sin remains on him.

If he disregards it,

He sins doubly.

If he swears a false oath,

He will not be justified.

His house will be filled

With calamities.”

Sirach does not want us to get accustomed to swearing oaths to the Most Holy One. If you swear too much, you are a like a servant under constant scrutiny who gets bruised by his master. So too, anyone who swears by the Name of God will never be cleansed from their sins. If you are always swearing to God for this or that, you will be full on iniquity, since the scourge will never leave your house. You can actually sin by swearing in error. Then you can double you sin by not fulfilling the false oath that you swore. You will never be justified since your house will be filled with calamities.

Immortality (Wis 1:12-1:15)

“Do not invite death

By the error of your life.

Do not bring on destruction

By the works of your hands.

God did not make death.

He does not delight

In the death of the living.

He created all things

So that they might exist.

The generative forces of the world

Are wholesome.

There is no destructive poison in them.

The dominion of Hades is not on earth.

Righteousness is immortal.”

This author states clearly that God did not create death (θάνατον). Man has created death that leads to hell, Sheol, or Hades (Άδης). You invite death by the error of your life. You bring on destruction by your own hands. God does not delight in death. God created living things as a generative wholesome force with no destructive poison in them so that they might exist. The kingdom or dominion of Hades is not on earth. Righteousness, or those who act justly, will make you immortal (δικαιοσύνη γὰρ ἀθάνατός ἐστιν), the opposite of death, not dying. Thus this is a vague immortality, somewhat like the Greek immortality of the soul that comes from a good life.