No switching places (Lk 16:26-16:26)

“Besides all this,

Between you

And us

A great chasm

Has been fixed.

Thus,

Those who might want

To pass

From here

To you

Cannot do so.

No one can cross

From there

To us.”

 

καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τούτοις μεταξὺ ἡμῶν καὶ ὑμῶν χάσμα μέγα ἐστήρικται, ὅπως οἱ θέλοντες διαβῆναι ἔνθεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς μὴ δύνωνται, μηδὲ ἐκεῖθεν πρὸς ἡμᾶς διαπερῶσιν.

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, but not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that Abraham continued with his talk to the rich man.  He said that besides all this (καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τούτοις), between him and Abraham with Lazarus (μεταξὺ ἡμῶν καὶ ὑμῶν), there was a great chasm that had been established (χάσμα μέγα ἐστήρικται).  Thus, those who might want to pass from here to there cannot do so (ὅπως οἱ θέλοντες διαβῆναι ἔνθεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς μὴ δύνωνται).  No one can cross from there to here (μηδὲ ἐκεῖθεν πρὸς ἡμᾶς διαπερῶσιν).  He had no way out.  Abraham pointed out that there was a big chasmic difference between where the rich man was and where Lazarus and Abraham were.  No one could, even if they wanted to, cross over from one to the other.  Somehow, they were able to talk to each other.  Yet they were in two distinct milieus that could not meet and exchange personal contacts.  What is your vision of hell and heaven?

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Jesus sat down (Lk 4:20-4:20)

“He rolled up

The scroll.

He gave it back

To the attendant.

He sat down.

The eyes of all

In the synagogue

Were fixed on him.”

 

καὶ πτύξας τὸ βιβλίον ἀποδοὺς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ ἐκάθισεν· καὶ πάντων οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ ἦσαν ἀτενίζοντες αὐτῷ.

 

This is unique to Luke, as he once again explained details about this Nazareth Sabbath synagogue service.  After Jesus had finished reading the passage from Isaiah, he rolled up the scroll (καὶ πτύξας τὸ βιβλίον).  Then he gave it back or delivered it to the attendant (ἀποδοὺς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ).  Finally, he sat down (ἐκάθισεν), which was the common practice of teachers.  Meanwhile, the eyes of everyone (καὶ πάντων οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ) in the synagogue (ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ) were fixed on him (ἦσαν ἀτενίζοντες αὐτῷ) to see what he was going to say.

King Josiah (Sir 49:1-49:3)

“The memory of King Josiah is

Like a blending of incense.

This was prepared

By the skilful art of the perfumer.

His memory is

As sweet as honey

To every mouth.

His memory is

Like music

At a banquet of wine.

He did what was right

By reforming the people.

He removed the wicked abominations.

He kept his heart

On the Lord.

In lawless times,

He made

Godliness prevail.”

Now Sirach takes on the memory of the long reign of Judah King Josiah (640-609 BCE) as found in 2 Kings, chapters 22-23, and 2 Chronicles, chapters 34-35. He was a substantial king for over 30 years, so his impact was great. His memory was like the beautiful aroma of incense and sweeter than honey. His memory was like music at a wine banquet because he did what was right. He refurnished the Jerusalem Temple by collecting money to repair it. During this remodeling, they discovered the book of the law, probably Deuteronomy. After reading this book, he called for a religious reform in Judah, apparently reinstating monotheism. He then set out to destroy all the other religious shrines or wicked abominations that were not in Jerusalem. He kept his heart fixed on the Lord. He changed the lawless times into the times of godliness. What a great king!

The stars (Sir 43:9-43:10)

“The glory

Of the stars

Is the beauty

Of heaven.

There are

A gleaming array,

In the heights

Of the Lord.

On the orders

Of the Holy One,

They stand

As ordered.

They never relax

In their watches.”

Sirach indicates that the stars show the glory of the heavens. They glow in the heights as ordered by the Lord. They stand there fixed by the Holy One as they never relax. Once again, we see a static view of the universe with everything in their fixed place according to God.