What is going on? (Lk 15:26-15:26)

“The older son called

One of the servants.

He asked.

‘What is going on?’”

 

καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος ἕνα τῶν παίδων ἐπυνθάνετο τί ἂν εἴη ταῦτα.

 

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 older son called one of his male servants (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος ἕνα τῶν παίδων) and asked or inquired of him (ἐπυνθάνετο) what was going on (τί ἂν εἴη ταῦτα)?  This older hard-working son wanted to know what all the music, dancing, and celebrating was all about.  How come nobody told him what was going on?  Have you ever been confused about a celebration?”

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The oldest son (Lk 15:25-15:25)

“Now his elder son

Was in the field.

When he came,

He approached

The house.

He heard music

And dancing.”

 

ἦν δὲ ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ὁ πρεσβύτερος ἐν ἀγρῷ· καὶ ὡς ἐρχόμενος ἤγγισεν τῇ οἰκίᾳ, ἤκουσεν συμφωνίας καὶ χορῶν,

 

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 older or elder son (ἦν δὲ ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ὁ πρεσβύτερος) was in the field (ἐν ἀγρῷ) when his brother came back.  As he approached the house (καὶ ὡς ἐρχόμενος ἤγγισεν τῇ οἰκίᾳ), he heard music (ἤκουσεν συμφωνίας) and dancing (καὶ χορῶν).  Interesting enough, Luke once again was the only biblical writer to use these two words in his writings, συμφωνίας that means harmony of instruments or music, and χορῶν that means a dance, or dancing.  The older or elder son had worked hard on the farm, while his brother went and spent his fortune on wine, women, and song.  He knew nothing about the reconciliation of his brother and father.  Are you sometimes out of the loop?

The temptations of Jesus

Once John baptized Jesus, according to all three synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the Judaean desert. After this fast, the devil, the tempter, or Satan appeared to Jesus trying to test or tempt him. Jesus refused each of the 3 human temptations concerning the hedonism of hunger, the egotism of power, and the materialism of wealth. These temptations were to mislead and pervert the thinking, wishing, and feeling of Jesus. Although Mark‘s account was very brief, Matthew and Luke described the temptations in great detail that may have come from their common Q source. Is this a parable? What was the purpose of these accounts? There is no doubt that Matthew used language from the Old Testament Septuagint with a series of quotations from Deuteronomy. Fasting was a preparation for a great spiritual struggle. Once the temptations were over, Satan departed. Then angels of God began looking after Jesus. These temptations of Jesus have had many portrayals in art, literature, film, and music, since they have captured the imagination of many of the followers of Jesus Christ

Christian Whole Life

There are material dimensions to our life.  We are flesh, not just a spiritual soul.  We know about physical beauty and wealth.  If you are wealthy and the right race, does that prove that God loves you?  In reality, the physical world is morally neutral and can be an asset or a liability.  A disability can lead either to self-pity or courage.  Sex can either be an act of love or manipulation.  Wealth can be a power to help others or a path to greed.  We have to accept ourselves and who we are.  Thus, we have to let God shine through us.  We must bring our senses of touch, smell, and hearing into our faith.  We have to appreciate the beauty in the world around us.  Christians believe in an incarnation theology.  Jesus was truly in this world.  Do not fear the body, imagination or the aesthetic sense.  Your imagination uses myths and images to help you describe God, whether it be in music, art, or literature.

The plunder of the city of Tyre (Ezek 26:12-26:14)

“They will plunder

Your riches.

They will loot

Your merchandise.

They will break down

Your walls.

They will destroy

Your fine houses.

They will cast

Into the water

Your stones,

Your timber,

Your soil.

I will silence

The music

Of your songs.

The sound

Of your lyres

Will be heard

No more.

I will make you

A bare rock.

You shall be a place

For spreading nets.

You shall never

Be rebuilt.

I!

Yahweh!

Have spoken!’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that he was going to have the Babylonians plunder their riches and loot the merchandise of the city of Tyre. These Babylonian invaders were going to break down their walls and destroy the fine houses of Tyre. These invaders were going to throw the local stones, timber, and soil of Tyre into the water. There would be no more music or songs. Yahweh would silence the sounds of the lyres or harps. Tyre would become a bare rock or a place for spreading fishing nets. It would never be rebuilt again. Yahweh, God, had spoken.  Actually, the siege of Tyre lasted 12 years and then they settled things. Alexander the Great in 332 BCE also captured Tyre. This ancient Phoenician island city still exists in southern Lebanon today with about 100,000 people.

The change in habits (Lam 5:13-5:14)

“Young men

Are compelled

To grind

At the mill.

Boys stagger

Under loads of wood.

The old men

Have left

The city gate.

The young men

Have left

Their music.”

The lives of the people left in Jerusalem have changed. The young men are now grinding at the mill, while the young boys stagger under the heavy loads of wood. The old men have left their discussions at the city gate, while the young men no longer are involved with music.

King Josiah (Sir 49:1-49:3)

“The memory of King Josiah is

Like a blending of incense.

This was prepared

By the skilful art of the perfumer.

His memory is

As sweet as honey

To every mouth.

His memory is

Like music

At a banquet of wine.

He did what was right

By reforming the people.

He removed the wicked abominations.

He kept his heart

On the Lord.

In lawless times,

He made

Godliness prevail.”

Now Sirach takes on the memory of the long reign of Judah King Josiah (640-609 BCE) as found in 2 Kings, chapters 22-23, and 2 Chronicles, chapters 34-35. He was a substantial king for over 30 years, so his impact was great. His memory was like the beautiful aroma of incense and sweeter than honey. His memory was like music at a wine banquet because he did what was right. He refurnished the Jerusalem Temple by collecting money to repair it. During this remodeling, they discovered the book of the law, probably Deuteronomy. After reading this book, he called for a religious reform in Judah, apparently reinstating monotheism. He then set out to destroy all the other religious shrines or wicked abominations that were not in Jerusalem. He kept his heart fixed on the Lord. He changed the lawless times into the times of godliness. What a great king!