Diner with the Pharisees (Lk 14:1-14:1)

“On one occasion,

When Jesus was going

To the house

Of a leader

Of the Pharisees

To eat a meal

On the Sabbath,

They were watching

Him closely.”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ ἐλθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς οἶκόν τινος τῶν ἀρχόντων τῶν Φαρισαίων σαββάτῳ φαγεῖν ἄρτον, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἦσαν παρατηρούμενοι αὐτόν.

 

This is another unique story of Luke, one of the 5 times that Jesus cured someone on the Sabbath as in chapter 4:31-35, the man with the unclean spirit, chapter 4;38-39, Simon’s mother-in-law, chapter 6:6-11, the man with the withered hand, and chapter 13:10-17, the crippled woman.  This was also the 3rd time that Jesus had dinner with some Pharisees.  The other times were in chapters 7:36 and 11:37, thus indicating a friendly personal relationship between Jesus and some of the Pharisees.  Luke said that on one occasion or it happened (Καὶ ἐγένετο), when Jesus went into a certain house (ἐν τῷ ἐλθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς οἶκόν τινος) of a leader of the Pharisees (τῶν ἀρχόντων τῶν Φαρισαίων) to eat a meal or break bread (φαγεῖν ἄρτον) on the Sabbath (σαββάτῳ), they were watching him closely (καὶ αὐτοὶ ἦσαν παρατηρούμενοι αὐτόν).  Even when Jesus was with the Pharisees in a social setting, they were still observing him, since he was under constant surveillance.  Do you feel that people are watching you?

The concern of Daniel about food defilement (Dan 1:8-1:8)

“But Daniel resolved

That he would not

Defile himself

With the royal rations

Of food,

Or wine.

Thus,

He asked

The palace master

To allow him

Not to defile himself.”

Daniel resolved that he would not eat the royal food or wine, since that would make him unclean. He then asked Ashpenaz, the chief of the palace not to eat this royal food. The food restrictions became a major issue in the 2nd century BCE, when Antiochus IV Epiphanes (174-164 BCE) was the Greek Seleucid king who persecuted the Jews of Samaria and Judah. King Antiochus sided with the Hellenized Jews that led to the Maccabean revolt over the issue of who was a true Jewish person. The answer could be found by observing the food that they ate.

Be careful with strangers (Sir 11:29-11:34)

“Do not invite everyone

Into your home.

Many are the tricks

Of the crafty.

Like a decoy partridge

In a cage,

So is the mind

Of the proud.

Like spies

They observe your weakness.

They lie in wait.

They turn good into evil.

To worthy actions,

They attach blame.

From a spark of fire,

Many coals are kindled.

A sinner lies in wait

To shed blood.

Beware of scoundrels!

They devise evil.

They may ruin

Your reputation forever.

If you receive strangers

Into your home,

They will stir up trouble

For you.

They will make you

A stranger

To your own family.”

Sirach warns that you should be suspicious and careful about whom you let into your home. Some people are tricky and crafty. These proud spies are like a partridge bird in a cage observing everything, especially your weaknesses. Even back then they had spying devices. They will turn good into evil. They will blame you for the good things that you have done. They are like a spark that starts a roaring fire. These sinners want to hurt you. These evil doers are trying to ruin your reputation. If you let strangers into your house, they will stir up trouble. In the end, you will be like a stranger in your own family. Beware of stranger danger!

Words for the kings (Wis 6:9-6:11)

“To you then!

O monarchs!

My words are directed.

Thus you may learn wisdom.

Thus you may not transgress.

They will be made holy

Who observe holy things in holiness.

Those who have been taught them

Will find a defense.

Therefore set your desire

On my words.

Long for them!

You will be instructed.”

God wants the monarchs or tyrants (ὦ τύραννοι) to follow his words (οἱ λόγοι μου) and learn his wisdom (μάθητε σοφία). They should not transgress these words, but be made holy by observing them. They have to desire to be instructed about his word (λόγων μου). You cannot learn anything unless you want to learn.