You are always with me (Lk 15:31-15:31)

“Then the father

Said to him.

‘Son!

You are always

With me.

All that is mine

Is yours.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Τέκνον, σὺ πάντοτε μετ’ ἐμοῦ εἶ, καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐμὰ σά ἐστιν·

 

This long parable story about the 2 sons can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that the father turned to his son, calling him son (Τέκνον).  He said to him (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he was always with him (σὺ πάντοτε μετ’ ἐμοῦ εἶ).  All that that belonged to the father belonged to him, this oldest son (καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐμὰ σά ἐστιν).  Who does the oldest son represent?  Is it the Pharisees, or the newly forming righteous followers of Jesus?  These are honest hard-working people trying to do God’s will.  What was the big deal about this sinning brother?  Why not just forget about him?  Which brother do you feel more like?

The prophet Anna (Lk 2:36-2:36)

“There was a prophet,

Anna,

The daughter of Phanuel,

Of the tribe of Asher.

She was of a great age.

She had lived

With her husband

Seven years

After her marriage.”

 

Καὶ ἦν Ἄννα προφῆτις, θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ, ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ· αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς,

 

Next Luke introduced a female prophet, Anna.  There were some female prophets in the biblical literature like Miriam in Exodus, chapter 15:20, the sister of Aaron and Moses, who was called a prophet like her brother Aaron, the first instance of women worshiping God.  Deborah, in Judges, chapter 4:4, was a married woman prophet from the northern tribe of Ephraim who led troops into battle.  Finally, Huddah in 2 Kings, chapter 22:14-20, was one of the few mentioned female prophets.  The elders in Jerusalem consulted her about what to do with a holy book.  Her response led to the religious revival under King Josiah (640-609 BCE).  Like the other Israelite male and female prophets, Anna interpreted God’s will for his people.  Luke said that there was a prophet Anna (Καὶ ἦν Ἄννα προφῆτις), the daughter of Phanuel (θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ), of the northern tribe of Asher (ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ).  Her father’s name Phanuel was considered to be the fourth of the great archangels with Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, according to the 3rd century BCE work, the Book of Enoch, but there is no implication here that she was angelic.  Thus, she was not a local Judean, but a northern Galilean Jewish person from Asher.  She was greatly advanced in years (τη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς), since she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage (ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς).  She had become a widow.

Inclusive Model of Salvation

The inclusive model holds that Jesus Christ is the normative expression of God’s will for all people.  The problem is that many people have never known Christ.  What role has the God of love for them?  Is Christian faith offered to everyone?  Some Christians believe in predestination so that only a few are chosen.  Christianity has always been missionary, sometimes overly zealous, as in the Crusades and the Inquisition.  What about those who have never heard of Jesus Christ?  The Catholic Council of Trent (1545-1563) in the 16th century talked about a baptism of desire.  You will be saved by Jesus without knowing him.  Salvation is fully found in Jesus, but offered to everyone in all genuine religions who live the good life, who sincerely seek God, moved by grace, and strive by their deeds to do his will as they know it.  Sometimes we call them like Karl Rahner (1904-1984) “anonymous Christians.”

Do not go to Egypt (Jer 42:19-42:22)

“Yahweh has said to you.

‘O remnant of Judah!

Do not go to Egypt!’

Be well aware

That I have warned you

Today!

You have made

A fatal mistake!

You yourselves sent me

To Yahweh your God.

Saying.

‘Pray for us

To Yahweh our God!

Whatever Yahweh our God

Says

Tell us!

We will do it.’

So I have told you

Today

But you have not obeyed

The voice

Of Yahweh your God

In anything

That he sent me to tell you.

Be well aware

That you shall die

By the sword,

By famine,

By pestilence

In the place

Where you desire to go,

Where you desire to live.’”

Not only is Yahweh upset, but so is Jeremiah. Yahweh had told Jeremiah what he wanted. This remnant of Judah had gone to Jeremiah to find out God’s will. Now that Jeremiah has pronounced Yahweh’s will, they did not like it. Yahweh’s response was simple. Do not go to Egypt! If they would go, they would make a fatal mistake. Jeremiah has warned them. They had, in fact, asked Jeremiah to intercede with Yahweh, so that they might know what to do. They said that they would do whatever Yahweh wanted. After Jeremiah came back with the words of Yahweh, they would not accept it, since they did not like the response. Suddenly, it was a different situation. Now they wanted to disobey by going to Egypt. Thus as Jeremiah so often remarked, they would die by the famous sword, famine, or pestilence in the land that they desired to go to live, Egypt. There was no ambiguity here.

The northern cold wind snow (Sir 43:17-43:20)

“At the Lord’s will,

The storm

From the north comes.

The whirlwind comes.

He scatters the snow

Like birds flying down.

Its descent is

Like locusts alighting.

The eye is dazzled

By the beauty

Of its whiteness.

The mind is amazed

As it falls.

He pours frost

Over the earth

Like salt.

When it freezes,

Icicles form

Like pointed thorns.

The cold north wind blows.

Ice freezes on the water.

It rests upon every pool of water.

It settles on every pond of water.

The water puts it on

Like a breastplate.”

Everything happened according to God’s will. Thus, according to Sirach, the cold north wind with bird like snow is sent by the Lord. Sometimes the snow storm looks like locusts descending on a field. However, we are dazzled by the soft gentle beautiful white snowflakes. Sometimes the snowflakes are like salt that forms pointed thorn icicles. This northern wind freezes the ponds, so that they look like they have a protective breastplate shield on them. This is very beautiful descriptive language about snow and frost.

Casting Lots (Prov 18:18-18:21)

“Casting the lot puts an end to disputes.

Casting lots decides between powerful contenders.

An ally offended is stronger than a city.

Such quarreling is like the bars of a castle.

From the fruit of the mouth,

One’s stomach is satisfied.

The yield of the lips

Brings satisfaction.

Death and life

Are in the power of the tongue.

Those who love it

Will eat its fruits.”

Casting lots was a way of finding out God’s will. This is how you put an end to disputes and arguments between powerful people. If you offend your ally he will become stronger than a city. This kind of quarreling is like the bars on a castle that cannot be torn down or bring about reconciliation. You satisfy your stomach through your mouth. So too the words of your lips will bring satisfaction. Life and death are in power of the tongue. When you love something, you will eat its fruits or enjoy the results.