Make friends (Lk 16:9-16:9)

“I tell you!

Make friends

For yourselves

By means

Of dishonest wealth!

Thus,

When it is gone,

They may welcome you

Into the eternal homes.”

 

Καὶ ἐγὼ ὑμῖν λέγω, ἑαυτοῖς ποιήσατε φίλους ἐκ τοῦ μαμωνᾶ τῆς ἀδικίας, ἵνα ὅταν ἐκλίπῃ δέξωνται ὑμᾶς εἰς τὰς αἰωνίους σκηνάς.

 

This parable story about the dishonest household manager or steward can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said with a solemn pronouncement (Καὶ ἐγὼ ὑμῖν λέγω) that they should make friends for themselves (ἑαυτοῖς ποιήσατε φίλους) by means of dishonest wealth (ἐκ τοῦ μαμωνᾶ τῆς ἀδικίας).  Actually, this Greek word μαμωνᾶ is a transliteration of the Aramaic word mammon that means money or wealth.  Then, when it was gone or failed (ἵνα ὅταν ἐκλίπῃ), they would be welcomed or received (δέξωνται ὑμᾶς) into their eternal homes (εἰς τὰς αἰωνίους σκηνάς).  What did this mean?  They had nothing with their dishonest wealth and money, if it did not get them into eternal life.  Would you choose wealth or eternal heaven?

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Two Jews sent to Rome (1 Macc 8:17-8:21)

“Judas Maccabeus chose Eupolemus son of John, son of Accos, and Jason son of Eleazar. He sent them to Rome to establish a friendship and an alliance. They wanted to free themselves from their yoke. They saw that the kingdom of the Greeks was completely enslaving Israel. They went to Rome, a very long journey. They entered the senate chamber and spoke as follows.

‘Judas, who is also called Maccabeus,

And his brothers and the people of the Jews

Have sent us to you

To establish an alliance and peace with you,

So that we may be enrolled as your allies and friends.’

The proposal pleased them.”

Judas Maccabeus sent 2 people on this important mission to Rome. One was Eupolemus, the son of John and grandson of Accos, who was part of a priestly family. It is not clear whether this Eupolemus is the Greek Jewish writer of the 2nd century BCE. The other was Jason, the son of Eleazar, who was the brother of Judas. Thus Jason, a Hellenistic name, was the nephew of Judas. They wanted to establish friendship and an alliance with Rome, which was far away. The emphasis on distance meant that they could form an alliance, according to Mosaic Law, with a far away country, but not with their close neighbors. This sounds a little weird. They believed that the Greeks were putting a yoke on them. However, it was very clear that the Syrians from Antioch, the Seleucid dynasty, were causing all their problems by asking the Jews to Hellenize their way of life. Apparently, these 2 Jewish envoys were successful since the idea pleased the Romans.