Late in the day (Lk 9:12-9:12)

“The day was growing

To a close.

The twelve came

To Jesus.

They said.

‘Send the crowd away!

Thus,

They may go

Into the surrounding villages

And the countryside

To lodge

And get provisions.

We are here

In a deserted lonely place.’”

 

Ἡ δὲ ἡμέρα ἤρξατο κλίνειν· προσελθόντες δὲ οἱ δώδεκα εἶπαν αὐτῷ Ἀπόλυσον τὸν ὄχλον, ἵνα πορευθέντες εἰς τὰς κύκλῳ κώμας καὶ ἀγροὺς καταλύσωσιν καὶ εὕρωσιν ἐπισιτισμόν, ὅτι ὧδε ἐν ἐρήμῳ τόπῳ ἐσμέν.

 

Luke said that when the day was growing to a close (Ἡ δὲ ἡμέρα ἤρξατο κλίνειν), the twelve apostles came to Jesus (προσελθόντες δὲ οἱ δώδεκα).  They said to him (ἶπαν αὐτῷ) to send the crowd away (Ἀπόλυσον τὸν ὄχλον), so that they might go into the surrounding villages and the countryside (ἵνα πορευθέντες εἰς τὰς κύκλῳ κώμας καὶ ἀγροὺς) to find lodging and provisions (καταλύσωσιν καὶ εὕρωσιν ἐπισιτισμόν).  They said that they were in a deserted lonely place (ὅτι ὧδε ἐν ἐρήμῳ τόπῳ ἐσμέν).  There were similar indications about this crowd needing to eat in Matthew, chapter 14:15, and Mark, chapter 6:35-36.  Mark said that the disciples wanted to send the crowds home.  After all, there were no fast food places to get something to eat.  However, there were some places in the nearby villages where you could buy some food.  Mark said that when it grew late, Jesus’ disciples came to him.  They told him that they were in a deserted place.  They wanted to send the crowds away, so that they could go into the surrounding region and nearby villages to buy food for themselves.  This seemed like a good or reasonable plan.  Matthew also said that the disciples wanted to send the crowds home.  When it was evening, the disciples came to Jesus.  They told him that there were in a deserted place at a late hour.  They wanted to send the crowds away so that they could go into the nearby villages to buy food for themselves.  Have you ever been in a large crowd without food?

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The Field of Blood (Mt 27:6-27:8)

“But the chief priests,

Taking the pieces of silver,

Said.

‘It is not lawful

To put them

Into the treasury,

Since these pieces

Are blood money.’

After conferring together,

They used

These silver pieces

To buy the potter’s field,

As a place

To bury foreigners.

Thus,

That field

Has been called

The Field of Blood

To this day.”

 

οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς λαβόντες τὰ ἀργύρια εἶπαν Οὐκ ἔξεστιν βαλεῖν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν κορβανᾶν, ἐπεὶ τιμὴ αἵματός ἐστιν.

συμβούλιον δὲ λαβόντες ἠγόρασαν ἐξ αὐτῶν τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως εἰς ταφὴν τοῖς ξένοις.

διὸ ἐκλήθη ὁ ἀγρὸς ἐκεῖνος Ἀγρὸς αἵματος ἕως τῆς σήμερον.

 

This is unique to Matthew among the gospel writers, although in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:16-20, Peter talked about the death of Judas and the Field of Blood. The chief priests, however, took the 30 pieces of silver (οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς λαβόντες τὰ ἀργύρια).  They said that it was not lawful to put this money into the Temple treasury (εἶπαν Οὐκ ἔξεστιν βαλεῖν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν κορβανᾶν), since it was blood money (ἐπεὶ τιμὴ αἵματός ἐστιν).  After conferring together or taking counsel among themselves (συμβούλιον δὲ λαβόντες), they used this money to buy the potter’s field (ἐξ αὐτῶν τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως), as a place to bury foreigners or strangers (εἰς ταφὴν τοῖς ξένοις).  Thus, this field has been called the Field of Blood (διὸ ἐκλήθη ὁ ἀγρὸς ἐκεῖνος Ἀγρὸς αἵματος) to this day (ἕως τῆς σήμερον).  Apparently, the clay that was used for pottery was useless for growing anything.  Thus, it was called potter’s field.  This field became a graveyard for foreigners, strangers, and commoners who had no money for a proper burial.  It was the poor man’s burial area.  This returned blood money could not be used for any Temple activities or holy purposes.  Thus, a cemetery for the indigent seemed like a good comprise.  Notice that Matthew said that it was called a “Field of Blood” even until the time of his writing, this day, indicating an interval between this incident and the writing about it

Spirituality

We are all called to Christian spirituality.  Spirituality is not a monastic reality only.  The contemplative must be down to earth.  You need spirituality in your work.  The need for spiritual nourishment goes with a dynamic, growing and changing relationship with God.  You need to read scripture, do personal study, attend retreats and renewal experiences within small faith communities.  Our spiritual life, our interior life, our very existence needs the life-giving element of prayer.

Some sheep were ruining their food and drink (Ezek 34:18-34:19)

“Is it not enough

For you

To feed

On the good pasture?

Must you tread down

With your feet

The rest of your pasture?

When you drink

Of clear water,

Must you foul

The rest

With your feet?

Must my sheep eat

What you have trodden

With your feet?

Must they drink

What you have fouled

With your feet?”

Some of the sheep were messing up the food supply for the other sheep. They had these wonderful pastures with plenty of food and drink. However, some of these sheep were walking all over the place keeping the grass from growing. They were also walking in the water holes, so that they became polluted. Pollution has always been a problem. In other words, Yahweh, via Ezekiel was complaining that some sheep were messing up the good clean drinking water and the lush green pastures by stomping all over them. Among the sheep of Israel, some were causing problems by fouling things up. The emphasis on their feet was an indication that the actions of these bad Israelite sheep were making it difficult for the good Israelite sheep to sustain their lives with good food and pure water.

Desolate Moab towns (Jer 48:34-48:34)

“Heshbon cries out.

Elealeh cries out.

As far as Jahaz,

They utter their voice,

From Zoar

To Horonaim,

To Eglath-shelishiyah.

Even the waters of Nimrim

Have become desolate.”

This continues with the same ideas as in Isaiah, chapter 15. Everybody was crying out from the towns of Heshbon and Elealeh, in the Israelite Reuben territory, upper Moab. This crying could be heard 25 miles away north in Jahaz, a Levitical city near Gilead that was given to Gad in Joshua, chapter 21. These Moabite fugitives fled south to the tip of the Dead Sea near Zoar, which is on the southeast end of the Dead Sea. They also fled to the surrounding towns of Eglath-shelishiyah and Horonaim, near the ascent of the Luhith hills, in southern Moab near Zoar. The cries of the Moabites could be heard everywhere. The waters of Nimrim were desolate with nothing growing beside it. Only Jeremiah and Isaiah make any reference to these waters of Nimrim.

The results of the attack on Moab (Isa 15:4-15:6)

“Heshbon cries out.

Elealeh cries out.

Their voices are heard

As far as Jahaz.

Therefore the loins of Moab quiver.

His soul trembles.

My heart cries out for Moab.

His fugitives flee to Zoar,

To Eglath-shelishiyah.

At the ascent of Luhith,

They go up weeping.

On the road to Horonaim,

They raise a cry of destruction.

The waters of Nimrim

Are a desolation.

The grass is withered.

The new growth fails.

The verdure is no more.”

As far as we can tell, everybody was crying out from the towns of Heshbon (mentioned 37 times in the biblical literature) and Elealeh (mentioned 10 times in the biblical literature). They were towns in the Israelite Reuben territory, but Isaiah seems to indicate here that they were part of upper Moab. This crying could be heard 25 miles away north in Jahaz (mentioned 8 times in the biblical literature) which was in the Israelite Gad territory. The Moab people were frightened. They were trembling. In fact, Isaiah says that even his heart cried out for them. These Moabites fugitives fled south to the tip of the Dead Sea near Zoar, which is on southeast end of the Dead Sea. There was a story about Lot in Genesis about this city (chapters 13-19). They also fled to the surrounding towns of Eglath-shelishiyah and Horonaim, near the ascent of the Luhith hills. Isaiah is the only one to mention any of these towns, but they seem to be in southern Moab near Zoar. The waters of Nimrim were desolate with grass withering and nothing growing. Only Jeremiah and Isaiah make any reference to these waters of Nimrim. Anyway, everybody was crying and upset.

The devastation of the land (Isa 7:23-7:25)

“On that day,

Every place where

There used to be a thousand vines,

Worth a thousand shekels of silver,

Will become briers.

They will become thorns.

With bow and arrows,

One will go there.

All the land

Will be briers and thorns.

All the hills

That used to be hoed with a hoe,

One will not go there

For fear of the briers,

For fear of the thorns.

But they will become a place

Where cattle are let loose.

They will become a place

Where sheep tread.”

On this faithful day, the vineyards will shrivel up. Thousands of vines worth about $23,000 in silver shekels in today’s money would be abandoned to thorns and briers. Places that were hoed before would now be overrun with briers and thorns. People would be afraid to go there because of these briers and thorns. Only the cattle would roam all over the place. The sheep would also tread on any crops that might be growing. Things would be bad, as the land was devastated.