Archive for October, 2017

What’s love got to do with it?

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

29 October 2017
Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 25A (RCL)

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Matthew 22:34-46

I find it odd that Matthew ends his report of Jesus’ disputes with the religious authorities with something as uncontroversial as the question concerning the greatest commandment. This would have been standard fare among rabbinic Jews, and we have record of other rabbis addressing the question (granted, after the time of Jesus, but them Matthew is writing after Jesus, also), and coming up with the same answers. So, why would Matthew sum up these disputes with something so uncontroversial as the shema (Hear, O Israel), and the commandment to love neighbor as self? (more…)

What do we owe?

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

22 October 2017
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 24A (RCL)

Exodus 33:13-23
Psalm 99
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22

So Israel, who had been no people when slaves in Egypt, and had become God’s people in the wilderness, messed up badly with the golden calf. At the opening of Chapter 33 of Exodus, God says that God will send an angel before the people as the ‘go up’ to land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but the divine self will not go up with them, because they are a stiff necked people. This presents the ultimate crisis for Israel’s existence — without God’s presence, they are no people. (more…)

What place vengeance?

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

15 October 2017
Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 23A (RCL)

Exodus 32:1-14
Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23
Philippians 4:1-9
Matthew 22:1-14

For all his effort to find a way for Gentiles to live by the spirit of the law as they join the Christian community, and his assurance that the spirit of the law will stand unaltered, Matthew has a harsh attitude toward his fellow religionists, the Jews. This parable, read as an allegory, clearly suggests that the destruction of Jerusalem was due to the failure of the Jews (those first invited, a word very similar in Greek to “chosen” or “elect”) to come to the wedding feast of the Son. In line with the parable of the vineyard, we might call this Matthew’s sour grapes. (more…)

Whose vineyard?

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

8 October 2017
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 22A (RCL)
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
Psalm 19
Philippians 3:4b-14
Matthew 21:33-46

Urrrf. This ‘parable’ clearly promotes a supercessionist understanding of the relationship of Christianity to Judaism. For Israel’s failure to render the fruit of the vineyard to God, God will give the vineyard to other tenants. The vineyard, of course, refers to Isaiah 5:1-7, and the fruit of the vineyard is to be justice and peace. The stream of servants who come to ask for the fruit lines up with the prophets in the Wisdom myth. Israel persecuted the prophets (cf. the Jerusalem, Jerusalem saying in Matthew’s Gospel). (more…)