Alms make you clean (Lk 11:41-11:41)

“Give for alms

Those things

That are within!

See!

Everything will be clean

For you!”

 

πλὴν τὰ ἐνόντα δότε ἐλεημοσύνην, καὶ ἰδοὺ πάντα καθαρὰ ὑμῖν ἐστιν.

 

Luke uniquely had Jesus turn to alms.  The Lord Jesus told the Pharisee that they should give alms (δότε ἐλεημοσύνην) with things that are from within them (λὴν τὰ ἐνόντα), so that everything would be clean for them (καὶ ἰδοὺ πάντα καθαρὰ ὑμῖν ἐστιν).  Giving alms would help them, since this was already part of the Mosaic and Pharisaic law, but it had to be interior and and not exterior.  It is hard to figure out what an interior almsgiving would be.  Are you generous in your gift giving to others?

Lending money (Lk 6:34-6:34)

“If you lend

To those from whom

You hope

To receive,

What credit is that

To you?

Even sinners

Lend to sinners,

To receive

As much again.”

 

καὶ ἐὰν δανίσητε παρ’ ὧν ἐλπίζετε λαβεῖν, ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν; καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἁμαρτωλοῖς δανίζουσιν ἵνα ἀπολάβωσιν τὰ ἴσα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued that if they lent money (καὶ ἐὰν δανίσητε παρ’) to those from whom they hoped to receive it back (παρ’ ὧν ἐλπίζετε λαβεῖν), what credit or gift was that to them (ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν).  Even sinners lend to sinners (καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἁμαρτωλοῖς δανίζουσιν), to receive as much back again (ἵνα ἀπολάβωσιν τὰ ἴσα).  Matthew, chapter 5:42, had something similar about lending money.  If someone wished to borrow money from them, they should not refuse them or turn them away.  These were tough difficult recommendations, but actually based on the Torah.  People were expected to give charity and at the same time offer interest free loans.  How generous are you with your money?

Even sinners do some good (Lk 6:33-6:33)

“If you do good

To those who do good

To you,

What credit is that

To you?

Even sinners

Do the same.”

 

καὶ γὰρ ἐὰν ἀγαθοποιῆτε τοὺς ἀγαθοποιοῦντας ὑμᾶς, ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν; καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν.

 

Luke had Jesus continue in the same vain.  If they did good (καὶ γὰρ ἐὰν ἀγαθοποιῆτε) to those who did good to them (τοὺς ἀγαθοποιοῦντας ὑμᾶς), what credit or gift was that to them (ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν)?  Even sinners did the same (καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν).  Matthew, chapter 5:44, has something similar to this, but Matthew was more forceful there.  Matthew indicated that Jesus told them to do good to those who were spitefully accusing them, hating them, and persecuting them.  These early Christians were asked to be generous to their enemies and persecutors.  Maybe later Christians might learn a little bit from the early followers of Jesus.

Give to beggars! (Lk 6:30-6:30)

“Give to everyone

Who begs from you!”

 

παντὶ αἰτοῦντί σε δίδου,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they should give (δίδου) to everyone who begs from them (παντὶ αἰτοῦντί σε), in the second person plural.  Matthew, chapter 5:42, was almost the same, when he had Jesus say that if anyone begs from them, give him something (τῷ αἰτοῦντί σε δός).  In other words, never refuse a beggar.  Never turn down a request, a petition, or a demand.  Be generous!

Bless those who curse you! (Lk 6:28-6:28)

“Bless those

Who curse you!”

 

εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμᾶς,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to his followers to bless those (εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς) who cursed them (καταρωμένους ὑμᾶς), using the second person plural.  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 5:44, where a Byzantine text added that these followers of Jesus were asked to bless those cursing them (εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμᾶς), just like here.  These early Christians were asked to be generous to their enemies and persecutors.

Love your enemies! (Lk 6:27-6:27)

“But I say to you!

Listen!

Love your enemies!

Do good

To those

Who hate you!”

 

Ἀλλὰ ὑμῖν λέγω τοῖς ἀκούουσιν Ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν, καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς,

 

Luke then indicated that Jesus issued a solemn pronouncement (Ἀλλὰ ὑμῖν λέγω τοῖς) that they should listen (ἀκούουσιν).  He clearly unambiguously said to love your enemies (Ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν) and do good to those who hate you (καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς).  This was a very strong statement that can be also found in Matthew, chapter 5:44, so that it might be from the Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that they were to love their enemies (ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν), word for word as here in Luke.  Jesus added that they should even pray for those who were persecuting them (καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς).  Perhaps, many of the followers of Jesus at that time were actually being persecuted.  They were to do good to those who were spitefully accusing them, hating them, and persecuting them (καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς, καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς, καὶ διωκόντων ὑμᾶς).  These early Christians were asked to be generous to their enemies and persecutors, as both Matthew and Luke indicated here.  This was a radical statement of love that went beyond loving your neighbor.  Love your enemy.  Do good to him.

The rebuke of the slave with one talent (Mt 25:26-25:27)

“But his master replied.

‘You wicked slave!

You lazy slave!

You knew,

That I reap

Where I have not sown.

I gather

Where I have not scattered.

Then you ought to have

Invested my money

With the bankers.

On my return,

I would have received

What was my own

With interest.”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Πονηρὲ δοῦλε καὶ ὀκνηρέ, ᾔδεις ὅτι θερίζω ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρα, καὶ συνάγω ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισα;

ἔδει σε οὖν βαλεῖν τὰ ἀργύριά μου τοῖς τραπεζείταις, καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐγὼ ἐκομισάμην ἂν τὸ ἐμὸν σὺν τόκῳ.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is something similar in Luke, chapter 19:22-23.  Jesus indicated that this master was not happy with his slave who hid his talent money.  This lord or master responded to this slave (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτῷ).  He called him a wicked lazy slave.  He knew that this master was a hard man, since he reaped where he had not sown (ᾔδεις ὅτι θερίζω ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρα).  He gathered where he had not scattered (καὶ συνάγω ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισα), repeating his own words.  The master then told this slave that he should have at a minimum invested his money with the bankers (ἔδει σε οὖν βαλεῖν τὰ ἀργύριά μου τοῖς τραπεζείταις).  Then, at least, when he returned (καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐγὼ ἐκομισάμην), he would have received his money plus the earned interest on it (ἐκομισάμην ἂν τὸ ἐμὸν σὺν τόκῳ).  This master was a harsh but generous slave owner.

Generosity versus fairness (Mt 20:13-20:15)

“But the landowner replied

To one of them.

‘Friend!

I am doing you no wrong!

Did you not agree

With me

For a denarius?

Take what belongs to you!

Go!

I choose to give

To this last

The same

As I give to you.

Am I not allowed to do

What I choose

With what belongs to me?

Or are you envious

Because I am generous?’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς ἑνὶ αὐτῶν εἶπεν Ἑταῖρε, οὐκ ἀδικῶ σε· οὐχὶ δηναρίου συνεφώνησάς μοι;

ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε· θέλω δὲ τούτῳ τῷ ἐσχάτῳ δοῦναι ὡς καὶ σοί·

οὐκ ἔξεστίν μοι ὃ θέλω ποιῆσαι ἐν τοῖς ἐμοῖς; ἢ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου πονηρός ἐστιν ὅτι ἐγὼ ἀγαθός εἰμι;

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, as Jesus concluded this parable.  The landowner replied to one of them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς ἑνὶ αὐτῶν) with a sarcastic greeting of companion or friend (εἶπεν Ἑταῖρε).  He had done nothing wrong to them (οὐκ ἀδικῶ σε).  They had agreed to the one denarius pay for a day’s work (οὐχὶ δηναρίου συνεφώνησάς μοι).  They should just take their money and go (ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε).  If the landowner was generous that was not the problem of this day laborer.  He could give to the last hired what he gave to the first hired (θέλω δὲ τούτῳ τῷ ἐσχάτῳ δοῦναι ὡς καὶ σοί).  Was he not allowed (οὐκ ἔξεστίν μοι) to do whatever he wanted to do with his own belongings (ὃ θέλω ποιῆσαι ἐν τοῖς ἐμοῖς).  Were they envious with an evil eye (ἢ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου πονηρός ἐστιν) because he was generous (ὅτι ἐγὼ ἀγαθός εἰμι)?  In fact, they did not mind generosity.  They just wanted to know why none of that generosity came their way.  That is the problem with generosity.  The person who worked hard for a fair payment sometimes resents the generosity towards those who did not do as much work.  Why was the hard worker for the whole day not compensated more generously than the one-hour worker?  There are always two sides to every story.

Love your enemy (Mt 5:43-5:44)

“You have heard

That it was said.

‘You shall love

Your neighbor!

You shall hate

Your enemy!’

But I say to you.

Love your enemies!

Pray for those

Who persecute you!’”

 

Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου καὶ μισήσεις τὸν ἐχθρόν σου.

ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς·

 

Luke has something similar to this in chapter 6:33, but Matthew is more forceful here.  Once again, Matthew begins by asking them to recall what they have heard said (Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη) about loving their neighbors (Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου), based on the holiness code in Leviticus, chapter 19:18.  However, the next phrase, about hating your enemies (καὶ μισήσεις τὸν ἐχθρόν σου), cannot be found in any Hebrew biblical texts.  However, the reading of the psalms, and the general attitude prior to the exile indicates that the Israelites did not generally wish well on their enemies.  They often asked Yahweh to come and destroy their enemies.  Hate was not encouraged, it was just there.  Then Matthew has this solemn strong announcement from Jesus (ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν), without ambiguity.  They were to love their enemies (ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν) and even pray for those who were persecuting them (καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς).  Perhaps, many of the followers of Jesus at the time of Matthew’s writing were actually being persecuted.  In fact, the Byzantine text added here a couple of phrases to elaborate on this.  These followers of Jesus were asked to bless those cursing them (εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμᾶς).  They were to do good to those who were spitefully accusing them, hating them, and persecuting them (καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς, καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς, καὶ διωκόντων ὑμᾶς).  These early Christians were asked to be generous to their enemies and persecutors.

Some proverbs (Sir 40:12-40:17)

“All bribery

Will be blotted out.

All injustice

Will be blotted out.

But good faith

Will last forever.

The wealth of the unjust

Will dry up like a river.

The wealth of the unjust

Will crash like a loud clap

Of thunder in a storm.

A generous person

Has cause to rejoice.

Lawbreakers

Will utterly fail.

The children of the ungodly

Put out few branches.

They are unhealthy roots

On sheer rock.

The reeds by any water

Or river bank

Are plucked up

Before any grass.

Kindness is

Like a garden of blessings.

Almsgiving endures forever.”

Sirach utters some proverbs or sayings about injustice and life. Bribery and injustice will be blotted out, but good faith will last forever. The wealth of the unjust will disappear like a dried up river or thunder in a storm, here today, but gone tomorrow. Generous people should rejoice, while the lawbreakers will fail. The children of the ungodly will have few branches because their unhealthy roots are on solid rocks so they will have no yield. They are like reeds near water that is plucked before the grass. Kindness, on the other hand, grows into a garden of blessings. Then too almsgiving endures forever.