Men of little faith (Lk 12:28-12:28)

“But if God

Clothes

The grass

Of the field,

That is alive today

Yet tomorrow

Is thrown

Into the oven,

How much more

Will he clothe you.

You!

Of little faith!”

 

εἰ δὲ ἐν ἀγρῷ τὸν χόρτον ὄντα σήμερον καὶ αὔριον εἰς κλίβανον βαλλόμενον ὁ Θεὸς οὕτως ἀμφιέζει, πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὑμᾶς, ὀλιγόπιστοι.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that if God clothed (ὁ Θεὸς οὕτως ἀμφιέζει) the grass of the field (εἰ δὲ ἐν ἀγρῷ τὸν χόρτον), that is alive today (ὄντα σήμερον) yet tomorrow (καὶ αὔριον) is thrown into the oven or furnace (εἰς κλίβανον βαλλόμενον), how much more will he clothe them (πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὑμᾶς) of little faith (ὀλιγόπιστοι).  Once again, Matthew, chapter 6:30, had a similar Jesus saying, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that the Father, and not God as here, clothed the field grass that is here today (εἰ δὲ τὸν χόρτον τοῦ ἀγροῦ σήμερον ὄντα) and gone tomorrow (καὶ αὔριον), by being thrown into the furnace or oven (εἰς κλίβανον βαλλόμενον).  This use of “κλίβανον,” oven or furnace, is unique to Matthew and Luke here.  Would God, not the Father, also take care of their clothing needs (ὁ Θεὸς οὕτως ἀμφιέννυσιν, οὐ πολλῷ μᾶλλον)?  Obviously, he rebuked them as were men of little faith (ὀλιγόπιστοι).  This word about little faith was a favorite term for Matthew, since he used it 5 times more, with this Luke parallel here the only other usage in the New Testament literature.  Are you a person of little faith?

He will get up (Lk 11:8-11:8)

“I tell you!

Even though

He will not get up

And give him anything,

Because he is his friend,

At least,

Because of his persistence,

He will get up.

He will give him

Whatever he needs.”

 

λέγω ὑμῖν, εἰ καὶ οὐ δώσει αὐτῷ ἀναστὰς διὰ τὸ εἶναι φίλον αὐτοῦ, διά γε τὴν ἀναιδίαν αὐτοῦ ἐγερθεὶς δώσει αὐτῷ ὅσων χρῄζει.

 

Luke uniquely brought this parable story about waking up a friend at midnight to a surprise ending.  In this conclusion, Jesus proclaimed solemnly (λέγω ὑμῖν), that even though this friend will not get up and give him anything (εἰ καὶ οὐ δώσει αὐτῷ ἀναστὰς), because he was his friend (διὰ τὸ εἶναι φίλον αὐτοῦ), at least, because of his persistence (διά γε τὴν ἀναιδίαν αὐτοῦ), he will get up (ἐγερθεὶς) and give him whatever he needed (δώσει αὐτῷ ὅσων χρῄζει).  Problem solved, as persistence was better than friendship.  In a complete turnaround, this friend offered his requesting persistent neighbor friend whatever he wanted.  That’s what friends are for.  However, it was the persistence rather than the friendship that led him to act.  So that is the moral of this story.  Perseverance in prayer to the Father will lead to success.  Do you persist in prayer to God?

Solomon and field grass (Mt 6:29-6:30)

“Yet I tell you!

‘Even Solomon,

In all his glory,

Was not clothed

Like one of these.

But if God clothes

The grass of the field,

Which is alive today,

But tomorrow is thrown

Into the oven,

Will he not much more

Clothe you?

You of little faith!’”

 

λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδὲ Σολομὼν ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων.

εἰ δὲ τὸν χόρτον τοῦ ἀγροῦ σήμερον ὄντα καὶ αὔριον εἰς κλίβανον βαλλόμενον ὁ Θεὸς οὕτως ἀμφιέννυσιν, οὐ πολλῷ μᾶλλον ὑμᾶς, ὀλιγόπιστοι;

 

Once again, Luke, chapter 12:27-28, has a similar Jesus saying, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source.  Matthew has Jesus utter his solemn saying (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν) that King Solomon in all his glory (ὅτι οὐδὲ Σολομὼν ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ) did not have better looking clothing than these field flowers (περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων).  In 1 Kings, chapter 10:1-5, the Queen of Sheba remarked about the wonderful clothes of King Solomon and his palace.  God, and not the Father, clothes the field grass that is here today (εἰ δὲ τὸν χόρτον τοῦ ἀγροῦ σήμερον ὄντα) and gone tomorrow by being thrown into the furnace or oven (καὶ αὔριον εἰς κλίβανον βαλλόμενον).  This use of “κλίβανον,” oven or furnace, is unique to Matthew and Luke here.  Would God, not the Father, not take care of their clothing needs (ὁ Θεὸς οὕτως ἀμφιέννυσιν, οὐ πολλῷ μᾶλλον)?  Obviously, they were men of little faith (ὀλιγόπιστοι).  This word about little faith was a favorite term for Matthew, since he used it 5 times more, with only the Luke parallel here the only other usage in the New Testament.

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.