Today’s Reading is Matthew 28:1-20.
It contains three pericopes:
Verses 1-10 The Women and the empty tomb
All four gospels agree in their emphasis upon the event taking place on the first day of the week and that those who found the tomb empty were women, all give prominence to “Mary” and attention to the stone that had closed the tomb. They do not appear to agree on the time at which the women visited the tomb, the number and identity of the women, the purpose of their visit, the nature and appearance of the messenger(s), whether angelic or human, their message to the women and the response of the women to the visitor in the tomb. (from wikipedia)
Verses 11-15 The bribing of the guards
This strange episode deals with the fact that resurrection is incomprehensible. Something similar happens in the other gospels:
Mark 16:12-13 Jesus appears to two disciples
Luke 24:13-35 Jesus walks to Emmaus
John 20:24-29 Doubting Thomas needs to see
Well, relating to the mystery of Easter takes a leap of faith, the bribe is not a sufficient explanation and there really is no way the human mind could wrap around this bigger-than-death concept.
Verse 16-20 The Great Commission
Here again is that leap of faith: Baptize all people first, then secondly teach them!
Faith only works from a perspective of: What have I gotten myself into now.
Whenever you find a text online and you want to copy it to one of your documents you will encounter formatting issues. Word does act weird when confronted with already formatted text.
Here is the fix: A dumb place.
Today’s Reading is Matthew 21:18-46.
Thanks to the District of Columbia’s Emancipation Day Tax Day is today:
“Do you owe the IRS over 20 thousand dollars in back taxes? Do you have unfiled returns, are you under audit? Are your wages being garnished or about to be? Has your bank account been levied? [...] Do not deal with the IRS on your own, they’re the most brutal collection agency on the planet. [...]”
from a radio ad
Nobody has ever liked tax collectors all that much!
Attitudes on prostitution divide the globe:
Roughly speaking, the possible attitudes are:
• prohibitionism: both prostitutes and clients are criminalized and are seen as immoral, they are considered criminals
• abolitionism: prostitution itself is not prohibited, but most associated activities are illegal, in an attempt to make it more difficult to engage in prostitution, prostitution is heavily discouraged and seen as a social problem
• regulation: prostitution may be considered a legitimate business; prostitution and the employment of prostitutes are legal, but regulated
• decriminalization: prostitution is labor like any other. Sex industry premises should not be subject to any special regulation or laws
Whatever your take on prostitutes and tax collectors may be, Jesus is pretty clear:
“I tell you: the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the Kingdom of God ahead of you.”
Today’s Reading is Matthew 21:1-17.
I was in the nice position to be able to listen to a sermon of my wife preaching at my church. She made a very nice point:
Cheering for Jesus in good times is easy. But when the going gets rough we are pretty much like those people that were lining the streets with palm branches and their coats – we turn our back on Jesus:
- Most of his disciples ran away when he was arrested!
- Peter denied him three times!
- Peter, John and James fell asleep instead of being there for him in Gethsemane!
Sound familiar? We would never do that, right?
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Today’s Reading is John 11:1-44. The shortest verse in many English language Bibles is about Jesus mourning the death of his friend Lazarus: “Jesus wept.”
Wikipedia knows significance has been attributed to this phrase for a number of reasons, including the following:
* Weeping demonstrates that Christ was indeed true man, with real bodily functions (such as tears, sweat, blood, eating and drinking—note, for comparison, the emphasis laid on Jesus’ eating during the post-resurrection appearances). His emotions and reactions were real; Christ was not an illusion or spirit (see Docetism). Pope Leo I referred to this passage when he discussed the two natures of Jesus: “In his humanity Jesus wept for Lazarus; in his divinity he raised him from the dead.”
* The sorrow felt by Jesus presages the suffering of his own crucifixion.
Also the Dominus Flevit Church in Jerusalem was fashioned in the shape of a teardrop to symbolize the tears of Christ:
Today’s Reading is John 7:25-52.
The Johannine community produced this gospel in the 90s in Ephesus. That is four generations and one continent away from where it iwas supposed to be set. Now they didn’t know to much about who Pharisees were or what Jesus’ place in Judaism was. Hear Ed Parish Sanders about how common contrasts between Judaism and Christianity miss the mark:
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