Your brother has come home (Lk 15:27-15:27)

“The servant replied.

‘Your brother

Has come home.

Your father

Has killed

The fatted calf,

Because he

Got him back

Safe

And sound.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὅτι Ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἥκει, καὶ ἔθυσεν ὁ πατήρ σου τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν, ὅτι ὑγιαίνοντα αὐτὸν ἀπέλαβεν.

 

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 servant replied to the older son (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that his brother had come home (ὅτι Ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἥκει).  Then his father had killed or sacrificed (καὶ ἔθυσεν ὁ πατήρ σου) the fatted calf (τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν), because he had him back safe and sound in good health (ὅτι ὑγιαίνοντα αὐτὸν ἀπέλαβεν).  Once again, Luke is the only biblical writer who used this term σιτευτόν, that means fattened calf, 3 times in this story.  His father was happy to have his other son healthy and back with them.  He was just glad to see him.  Have you ever had a family relative show up unexpectedly?

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The slave was well (Lk 7:10-7:10)

“When those

Who had been sent

Returned

To the house,

They found the slave

In good health.”

 

καὶ ὑποστρέψαντες εἰς τὸν οἶκον οἱ πεμφθέντες εὗρον τὸν δοῦλον ὑγιαίνοντα.

 

Luke said that those friends of the centurion, who had been sent to Jesus (οἱ πεμφθέντες), returned to the centurion’s house (καὶ ὑποστρέψαντες εἰς τὸν οἶκον).  There, they found the slave in good health (εὗρον τὸν δοῦλον ὑγιαίνοντα).  There is a slightly different ending to this healing of the centurion’s servant in Matthew, chapter 8:13, where Jesus talked about the failure of the sons of Abraham.  He then told the centurion to go home.  The healing was going to take place as he had believed that it would.  Simply the word of Jesus, not his presence would cure his servant.  Then Matthew indicated that at that very moment, at that very hour, the servant was healed, without the presence of Jesus.  In both gospel stories, the servant was healed without Jesus being physically present to do so, due to the great faith of this non-Israelite Roman centurion person.  What kind of faith do you have?

The worthless shepherd (Zech 11:15-11:16)

“Then Yahweh said to me.

‘Take once more

The implements

Of a worthless shepherd!

I am raising up

In the land

A shepherd

Who does not care

For the perishing.

He does not care

To seek the wandering.

He does not care

To heal the maimed.

He does not care

To nourish the sound.

But he devours

The flesh

Of the fat ones,

Tearing off even their hoofs.’”

Yahweh explained what a worthless shepherd would be like.  This useless shepherd did not care about those sheep that were dying, wandering, or maimed.  He never tried to help those that were in good health.  However, he wanted to devour the flesh of the fat sheep, even tearing off their hoofs.  This was a concise description of a bad leader.

The ideal wife (Sir 26:13-26:18)

“A wife’s charm

Delights her husband.

Her skill puts flesh

On his bones.

A silent wife is a gift

From the Lord.

There is nothing so precious

As her self-discipline.

A modest wife

Adds charm to charm.

No scales can weigh

The value of her chastity.

Like the sun rising

In the heights of the Lord,

So is the beauty

Of a good wife,

In her well-ordered home.

Like the shining lamp

On the holy lamp stand,

So is a beautiful face

On a stately figure.

Like golden pillars

On sliver bases,

So are shapely legs

With steadfast feet.”

Sirach describes the ideal wife. Her charms delight her husband. Her skills keep him in good health. If she is silent, she is a gift from the Lord. Her self-discipline is precious. Her modesty adds further charms. There is no way to measure her chastity. Her beauty is like a sunrise on the mountains. She keeps a well ordered house. She has a beautiful face on a stately figure, like the holy lamp stand in the Temple. Her legs and feet are like golden pillars on silver bases. Thus we have the ideal wife, charming, disciplined, orderly, and beautiful. There is no indication where you might find such a women.

The letter of King Antiochus V to the Jewish senate (2 Macc 11:27-11:33)

“To the nation the king’s letter was as follows.

‘King Antiochus,

To the senate of the Jews and to the other Jews,

Greetings!

If you are well,

It is as we desire.

We also are in good health.

Menelaus has informed us

That you wish to return home.

You wish to look after your own affairs.

Therefore those who go home

By the thirtieth day of Xanthicus

Will have our pledge of friendship and full permission.

The Jews will enjoy their own food and laws,

Just as formerly,

None of them shall be molested in any way

For what he may have done in ignorance.

I have also sent Menelaus to encourage you.

Farewell.

The one hundred forty-eighth year,

Xanthicus fifteenth.’”

The king once again, like Lysias, ignored Judas Maccabeus. The letter was addressed to the Jewish Senate and all the Jews. In fact, Menelaus, the high priest, is the real intermediary. The king sent his good will through Menelaus, during the 13th day of the month of Xanthicus, March or April, of 164 BCE. He understood that they wanted to take care of their own affairs. He hoped that they were in good health as he was. They could now enjoy their own food and laws without any bother. They could also return to their own lands in the next 2 weeks. He still held out the possibility of further harassment because they might disobey out of ignorance.

The meeting with Raguel (Tob 7:1-7:8)

“When they entered Ecbatana, Tobias said to Raphael.

‘Brother Azariah! Take me straight to our brother Raguel.’

So he took him to the house of Raguel. There, they found him sitting beside the courtyard door. They greeted him first.   He replied.

‘Joyous greetings, brothers! Welcome and good health!’

Then he brought them into the house. Raguel said to his wife Edna.

‘How much the young man resembles my kinsman Tobit!’

Then Edna questioned them.

‘Where are you from, brothers?’

They answered.

‘We belong to the descendents of Naphtali, who are exiles in Nineveh.’ She said to them.

‘Do you know our kinsman Tobit?’

They replied.

‘Yes, we know him!’

Then she asked them.

‘Is he in good health?’

They replied.

‘He is alive and in good health.’

Tobias added.

‘He is my father.’

At that Raguel jumped up and kissed him and wept. He also spoke to them as follows.

‘Blessings on you, my child, son of a good and noble father!

O most miserable of calamities

That such an upright and beneficent man has become blind!’

He then embraced his kinsman Tobias and wept. His wife Edna also wept for him. Their daughter Sarah likewise wept. Then Raguel slaughtered ram from the flock. He received them warmly.”

When they reached Ecbatana, Tobias wanted to go visit Raguel right away. So Raphael, called Azariah, took him to that house, where Raguel was sitting outside at the courtyard door. They greeted each other. Raguel noticed that Tobias resembled Tobit. His wife Edna questioned who they were and where they were from. They said that they were from Naphtali, but they were exiles in Nineveh. Edna wanted to know if they knew Tobit. Then Tobias said that he was alive and in good health and was his father. With that Raguel became all excited. He jumped up and kissed them and began to weep. He thought it was terrible that such a good man as Tobit was blind. How he knew that Tobit was blind is not clear, since the text does explicitly say that they told him about this blindness. Then Raguel, his wife Edna, and daughter Sarah all wept. Raguel slaughtered a ram and received them warmly. All seems to be going well.

The sad farewell (Tob 5:18-5:21)

“But his mother, began to weep. She said to Tobit.

‘Why is it that you have sent my child away?

Is he not the staff of our hand as he goes in and out before us?

Do not heap money upon money.

Let it be a ransom for our child.

The life that is given to us by the Lord is enough for us.’

Tobit said to her.

‘Do not worry.

Our child will leave in good health.

He will return to us in good health, safe and sound.

Say no more!

Do not fear for them, my sister.

A good angel will accompany him.

His journey will be successful.

He will come back in good health.’

She stopped weeping.”

Anna, the mother of Tobias, was crying. She wanted to know why he was sending her child away. He was so helpful around the house. Why was he seeking more money, when they were getting by. It was like he was ransoming his son. The Lord had provided for them. Tobit replied that she should not be afraid. He was leaving in good health and would return in good health. He was going to be protected by an angel. With that, she stopped crying. This was like sending your child off to college. You never know what is going to happen.