Be ready (Mt 24:42-24:44)

“Keep awake therefore!

You do not know

On what day

Your Lord is coming.

But understand this!

If the owner

Of the house

Had known

In what part

Of the night

The thief was coming,

He would have stayed awake.

He would not have

Let his house

Be broken into.

Therefore,

You also must be ready!

The Son of Man

Is coming

At an unexpected hour.”

 

γρηγορεῖτε οὖν, ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε ποίᾳ ἡμέρᾳ ὁ κύριος ὑμῶν ἔρχεται.

ἐκεῖνο δὲ γινώσκετε ὅτι εἰ ᾔδει ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης ποίᾳ φυλακῇ ὁ κλέπτης ἔρχεται, ἐγρηγόρησεν ἂν καὶ οὐκ ἂν εἴασεν διορυχθῆναι τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ.

διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι, ὅτι ᾗ οὐ δοκεῖτε ὥρᾳ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται.

 

There is one sentence of this saying of Jesus in Matthew that is similar in Mark, chapter 13:35, and also in Luke, chapter 12:39-40, about the thief at night.  Jesus warned his disciples to be vigilant.  They were to stay awake (γρηγορεῖτε οὖν) because they did not know on what day (ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε ποίᾳ ἡμέρᾳ) the Lord was coming (ὁ κύριος ὑμῶν ἔρχεται).  They had to understand or realize (ἐκεῖνο δὲ γινώσκετε) that if an owner of a house had known at what time of the night a thief was coming (ὅτι εἰ ᾔδει ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης ποίᾳ φυλακῇ ὁ κλέπτης ἔρχεται), he would have been alert and stayed awake (ἐγρηγόρησεν ἂν).  He would not have let his house be broken into (καὶ οὐκ ἂν εἴασεν διορυχθῆναι τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ).  Therefore, they had to be ready or prepared (διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι) for the coming of the Son of Man (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται) because he would be coming at an unexpected hour (ὅτι ᾗ οὐ δοκεῖτε ὥρᾳ).

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The landowner came to take back his vineyard (Mt 21:40-21:41)

“‘When the owner

Of the vineyard

Comes,

What will he do

To those tenants?’

They said to him.

‘He will put those wretches

To a miserable death.

He will lease out

The vineyard

To other tenants

Who will give him

The produce

At the harvests time.’”

 

ὅταν οὖν ἔλθῃ ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος, τί ποιήσει τοῖς γεωργοῖς ἐκείνοις;

λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Κακοὺς κακῶς ἀπολέσει αὐτούς, καὶ τὸν ἀμπελῶνα ἐκδώσεται ἄλλοις γεωργοῖς, οἵτινες ἀποδώσουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς καρποὺς ἐν τοῖς καιροῖς αὐτῶν.

 

The end of the parable of the wicked tenants can be found in Mark, chapter 12:9, and Luke, chapter 20:15-16, almost word for word.  Jesus continued with his story by asking a question.  When the lord or the owner of that vineyard came to his vineyard (ὅταν οὖν ἔλθῃ ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος), what would he do to those wicked tenants (τί ποιήσει τοῖς γεωργοῖς ἐκείνοις)?  They responded to him (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ) by saying that this landowner would put those evil wretches to a miserable death (Κακοὺς κακῶς ἀπολέσει αὐτούς).  Then he would lease out or rent the vineyard to other tenants (καὶ τὸν ἀμπελῶνα ἐκδώσεται ἄλλοις γεωργοῖς). who would give him the produce at the harvest time (οἵτινες ἀποδώσουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς καρποὺς ἐν τοῖς καιροῖς αὐτῶν).  This land owner was still looking for good tenants or renters.

The two blind men ask for mercy (Mt 20:30-20:31)

“There were two blind men

Sitting by the roadside.

When they heard

That Jesus was passing by,

They shouted out.

‘Lord!

Have mercy on us!

Son of David!”

The crowd rebuked them.

They ordered them

To be quiet.

But they shouted

Even more loudly.

‘Lord!

Have mercy on us!

Son of David!’”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ δύο τυφλοὶ καθήμενοι παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν, ἀκούσαντες ὅτι Ἰησοῦς παράγει, ἔκραξαν λέγοντες Κύριε, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς, υἱὸς Δαυείδ.

ὁ δὲ ὄχλος ἐπετίμησεν αὐτοῖς ἵνα σιωπήσωσιν· οἱ δὲ μεῖζον ἔκραξαν λέγοντες Κύριε, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς, υἱὸς Δαυείδ.

 

Both Mark, chapter 10:46-48, and Luke, chapter 18:36-39, have something similar, but they only have one blind man with almost the same cry for mercy.  This story in Matthew has two blind men sitting by the roadside (καὶ ἰδοὺ δύο τυφλοὶ καθήμενοι παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν).  When they heard that Jesus was passing by (ἀκούσαντες ὅτι Ἰησοῦς παράγει), they cried out to him (ἔκραξαν λέγοντες) to have mercy on them (ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς).  They called Jesus the messianic Lord (Κύριε), the Son of David (υἱὸς Δαυείδ).  However, the crowd rebuked or admonished them to be quiet or silent (ὁ δὲ ὄχλος ἐπετίμησεν αὐτοῖς ἵνα σιωπήσωσιν).  But they shouted out even more loudly (οἱ δὲ μεῖζον ἔκραξαν λέγοντες).  They repeated again what they had shouted out earlier.  They called Jesus, Lord, the Son of David (Κύριε…υἱὸς Δαυείδ).  They wanted him to have mercy on them (ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς).  This Greek cry of “Κύριε, ἐλέησον” “kyrie eleison,” has found its way into the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Word at the beginning of the regular Sunday Mass service, with the “Lord, have mercy!”  Quite often, it is also part of a chant.

Pay the day laborers (Mt 20:8-20:8)

“When evening came,

The owner of the vineyard

Said to his manager.

‘Call the laborers!

Give them their pay!

Begin with the last.

Then go to the first.’”

 

ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης λέγει ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος τῷ ἐπιτρόπῳ αὐτοῦ Κάλεσον τοὺς ἐργάτας καὶ ἀπόδος τὸν μισθόν, ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ τῶν ἐσχάτων ἕως τῶν πρώτων.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew.  When evening came (ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης), the owner or the lord of the vineyard told his manager, steward, or foreman (λέγει ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος αὐτοῦ) to call the laborers in (Κάλεσον τοὺς ἐργάτας) from the vineyard.  He was to pay them their day’s pay that day (καὶ ἀπόδος τὸν μισθόν).  Based on the Jewish Mosaic law in Leviticus, chapter 19:13, they were not to keep for themselves the wages of a laborer until the next morning.  The same can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 24:14-15, but with a little more elaboration.  Poor laborers were to get their pay immediately every day before sunset.  Otherwise guilt would come upon the land owner.  There was a sense of justice that people who lived day to day should get their daily pay.  Thus, the manager was to pay the day laborers beginning with the last ones hired and work his way up to the first ones hired (ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ τῶν ἐσχάτων ἕως τῶν πρώτων).

This parable explanation is to forgive your brothers (Mt 18:35-18:35)

“Thus,

My heavenly Father

Will also do

To every one of you,

If you do not forgive

Your brother

From your heart.”

 

Οὕτως καὶ ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος ποιήσει ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ ἀφῆτε ἕκαστος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν καρδιῶν ὑμῶν.

 

This parable about the unforgiving servant slave is unique to Matthew.  Jesus then gave an explanation of this parable, probably for his disciples.  His heavenly Father, the lord or king, was going to do the same to every one of them (Οὕτως καὶ ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος ποιήσει ὑμῖν) who did not forgive their brother (ἐὰν μὴ ἀφῆτε ἕκαστος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ) from their heart (ἀπὸ τῶν καρδιῶν ὑμῶν).  If you do not truly forgive others, do not expect forgiveness for yourself.

Isaiah and vain worship (Mt 15:8-15:9)

“This people honors me

With their lips.

But their hearts

Are far from me.

In vain,

Do they worship me,

They teach human precepts

As doctrines.”

 

Ὁ λαὸς οὗτος τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ, ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ·

μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με, διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων.

 

This Greek quotation from Isaiah, chapter 29:13 is from the Septuagint, almost the same as in Mark, chapter 7:6-7.  This oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, centers on insincere worship.  These Israelites adored Yahweh with their mouths and lips, but their hearts were far away.  They only praised the Lord because of human demands, as they recited rote prayers.  Jesus repeated the verses of Isaiah, via Matthew.  These people honored him with their lips or mouth (Ὁ λαὸς οὗτος τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ).  However, their hearts were far away from him (ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ).  In a vain or useless way, they adored, worshiped, or reverenced him (μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με).  They are teaching doctrines (διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας) that were human precepts or ordinances (ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων).  Thus Jesus, via Matthew and Isaiah, was wailing against false worship and human precepts as divine worship and teachings.

False witness (Mt 5:33-5:33)

“Again,

You have heard

That it was said

To your ancient ancestors.

‘You shall not swear falsely!

But carry out

The vows

You have made

To the Lord.’”

 

Πάλιν ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις Οὐκ ἐπιορκήσεις, ἀποδώσεις δὲ τῷ Κυρίῳ τοὺς ὅρκους σου.

 

Jesus, via Matthew, expounded on another of the Ten Commandments, bearing false witness or lying, as expressed in Exodus, chapter 20:7.  Apparently, this was unique to Matthew.  They had all heard what was said to their ancestors (Πάλιν ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις).  They were not to swear falsely or lie (Οὐκ ἐπιορκήσεις).  Then Matthew added that they also should do or perform the vows that they swore to do to the Lord (ἀποδώσεις δὲ τῷ Κυρίῳ τοὺς ὅρκους σου), as indicated in Deuteronomy, chapter 23:21-23.  They should be careful about what they vow.  They should fulfill these vows quickly, since they were free to vow to the Lord God, Yahweh, or not.  However, when they did, they should make sure that they did what they said that they were going to do.