PEACE BE WITH YOU!

TO THOSE persons seeking discussion for Sundays coming forth in the lectionary, we offer a listing according to the three-year calendar.
On the right-hand column of this page, please find the past corresponding year for lectionary years A, B, or C.
And then search the appropriate month in each for a discussion concerning the gospel reading.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Celebrate Three in One!

FOR THE celebration of Holy Trinity, we offer this look into the final earthly instructions given by Jesus to the early Church. Do we know them? Do we practice them as first order of activities?













Monday, April 20, 2020

Word By Word!

OUR GOSPEL reading for the Third Sunday in Easter relates Jesus’ travel on the road with two disciples. According to Luke, this event happened just after our Lord's Resurrection, but before he met with his hidden disciples. Please know that this topic also has previous editorial covering the faith walk, at:

Here we read... 

 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 
 And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 
 And he said to them, “What things?” 
 And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. 
  Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.” 
 And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.  
 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going farther,  but they constrained him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 
 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. 
 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?”  And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 
 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.  
                                                                                (Luke 24:13–35)

  



With and Not Recognized? 
 Our gospel writer stated that two of the Lord’s disciples were leaving Jerusalem after the crucifixion, death and Resurrection of Jesus. However, they were unaware that the latter had occurred. They were walking toward Emmaus and discussing the crucifixion events. That they were indeed among our Lord’s disciples is made evident in that one of them was named with certainty as Cleopas. This name correlates closely with the name used to describe a woman noted in the Gospel According to Saint John. In John, as an observer of Jesus’ death upon the cross, that woman was named as the wife of Clopas. Subsequently, though some discussion has been held amongst scholars over the difference in spelling between the two names, I offer that the textual difference exists in scriptural accounts only because of the spelling preferences within the two disparate sources of gospel authorship. 
 Here I contend that one of the men was clearly one named to the Lukan community as a disciple, and the other was at least awarded the status of a knowing companion. Both men were walking that short distance from Jerusalem, likely in sullen spirit while deeply disappointed with the recent happenings. They were probably stopping occasionally to discuss the matter at great length. According to Luke, that is when Jesus joined them. Yet, though at least one of them had likely seen Jesus previously and recently... neither of the men recognized him. 
 It is in this elemental stage of grief that we find our Lord became present, but was not recognized. As Jesus began to question them concerning their dialog, he received confirmation concerning that which he most likely knew. In trying to comprehend the failure of the one person who they thought was the Messiah, they were likely as sinful as any in examination of the intrigue that had led to his death and burial. Discussion concerning the political turmoil likely ensued, leading to yet another stage of grief. They may have been laying the blame for Messianic failure. Who was at fault? The Pharisees? Sadduccees? Zealots? Sanhedrin? Rome? Were they at fault? Or was Jesus at fault? Was he not the Messiah?


Bargaining? 
 It was apparently within this context that Jesus interrupted them using a certain amount of disdain. It seemed because of failures in both mind and heart, that they were leaving out the one source of solidity for their understanding of the historical flow. They were ignoring the prophetic value of the Hebrew scriptures! They were doing what so many of us mirror in today’s world. The two men were traveling as sullen and disheartened, fearing no changes made in a sin-ridden society. 
 Therefore, we read that Jesus took them through a tour of Messianic prophecy that spoke of his arrival, teachings, miracles, death and burial... and the predictions concerning his Resurrection. What was our Lord doing? Our Lord was reminding them about looking at the divine flow of human salvation as stated in the Word, by the Word! 
 Exactly! Here is the message that we who are still walking and talking beneath the demonic railings of political ignorance, pandemic illnesses and approaching deaths need to be reminded of... our Lord said upon the cross... “It is finished.” All prophecy concerning the Messiah... the Annointed Deliverer... have been fulfilled. 


Acceptance!
 We note that when the evening then came upon them... a time of darkness and foreboding... they invited Jesus to stay with them. We need to do the same. They treated him as a guest, and he said a great prayer of thanksgiving while they reclined at the table. We need to do the same. 
 Then it was revealed to them that this was the real body and blood of Jesus, unrecognizable without the Word... they ate with him. And then they were left alone with the Good News... Jesus is Risen; Risen Indeed! Go tell others.

 We invite you to view this offering concerning the gospel revelation and our present circumstances...


May the Peace of God that surpasses all human understanding
keep you hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Our Lord.
 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Receive the Greatest!

FOR THIS week we read from the Gospel According to Saint John. For your perusal here, I offer these previous thoughts written on the subject. In this text, we encounter a wondrous event wherein Jesus appeared to the disciples.

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 To set the historical stage, know that the disciples had already been informed by women about the empty tomb. One of those women, named Mary, had even encountered the Risen Jesus amid that garden. Here then, we join the account that was stressed to first century readers concerning the Resurrected Christ Jesus. It boldly stated that he was physically raised from the dead, and was not an apparition simply conjured up by grief-stricken minds…
“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 
 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." 
 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe." 
 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you." 
 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." 
 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 
 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." 
 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”
                                                                             (John 20:19-31)





Know the Truth!
The disciples were gathered in the upper room on an evening after the Resurrection. It was a secret place to hide; somewhat a tomb of their own selection. After the Lord’s grave was found to be empty, Christians throughout the city were being hunted down by those in power. The empty tomb and its possible repercussions, fostered a very turbulent time for the disciples after the Passover festival. The upper room thus hid the shocked group, secured from the Jewish temple leaders.
 Historically, Passover celebrations had marked the prophetic sacrifice of lambs which were historically killed. They had been slaughtered to save those whom God chose to spare from death and lead through Sinai’s desert wilderness. With that celebration completed after Jesus' crucifixion, crowds of people had begun to leave the city. Subsequently, the disciples remained fearfully hidden, cowering in like nature to those of the Hebrews of the past… those historic Jews who were once imprisoned in Egypt.
 Moses had called to the children of Israel... those Jews that marched out of Egypt in times of old were afraid. You see, the disciples knew the story... that Moses did not die in Egypt. He had been with the Jews. Still the men who had been called by Christ during his ministry were very afraid. Jesus our Lord had died and was buried. He was was not standing in their midst telling them to go with him across the sea.
  Then Jesus suddenly appeared. The Word of God spoke to those in hiding. He spoke with calming words. A traditional “Peace be with you” (“eirene umin” in the Greek) was given. The greeting must have echoed in some respect like the words the messenger at the tomb had told Mary… “Do not be afraid”. The words came out as asking for a peace that existed beyond all understanding. However, the words fell on fearful ears.
 It may seem now to us that Resurrection faith was insufficiently held within them. But, lest we sinfully and too lightly consider the words spoken in that upper room, let us not judge our predecessors. Can we intellectually imagine the impact of hearing the voice of one believed to be dead? They suddenly heard Jesus’ voice!
 I think that we certainly cannot enough imagine the shock that came upon the men. Bedlam resulted! I venture that fear, crying, yelling and even more... began to shake the men who hid in that room even though they had been told by the women that he had risen.



 After the din quieted somewhat, a first daring soul moved beyond initial shock and doubt. Then, one by one, all were amazed by bodily proof about the Lord’s identity. John revealed to his churches that as the tumult lessened, Jesus’ aim was to empower them. Jesus reminded them that what had happened had been prophetically promised. Let us take due note that here at this point in the telling... is where John quickly changed our focus. John revealed to his hearers that not all were there. John told that Thomas was not present.
 As readers and hearers today who arrive untimely, we are also brought now into the scene. Those who hear the news of an empty tomb join with them across the centuries to understand the report.
  John told his readers that the message of the empty tomb was difficult for Thomas. I think that many who receive this gospel report today can surely identify with this. Many persons I know struggle today with intellectually gripping the Resurrection report. It is a hard thing indeed. We seek evidence!
  Thus today, as over centuries of witness, the Truth of the miracle comes to us as a gift. It is a gift wrapped in faith provided by the power of the Holy Spirit. Certainly, so rewarded we are called to accept what John’s churches came to understand.


 Know this! Faith to believe in this miracle only came from God’s Word as provided through the Holy Spirit. For this reason we too must search the Word, comprehending that scripture surely declares scripture! Faith comes by the receiving of this spiritual knowledge. As Saint Paul echoed..,
 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not because of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
 
The stage was therefore described as set wonderfully by John’s writing. The writer brought Thomas face-to-face with the Risen Lord, and we as readers now also become witnesses to the scene as well. The Truth is revealed to all! Immediately, the normative declaration was made by that disciple, "My Lord and my God!" Thus with exclamatory zeal... kingdom building was furthered. 

Tell This Truth!
Examine the words of John as we look for lessons in our own day. We need only see the history of the Christian church during the latter years of the first century. John’s gospel was likely written c.85-95, as a highly symbolic telling. It included rather sophisticated symbols of double entendre. In this gospel then, many forms of storytelling found in classical Greek texts are used. Therefore, we collectively may assume that John wrote primarily to Greek and dispersed and highly educated Hebrews who gathered within the heart of the Roman Empire. His symbolic writing style points out a witness subtly meant to attract those upper, educated classes, as well as those lesser learned.
 Were educated and moneyed persons confronted by the gospel witness? If the answer is affirmative, we modern persons may also then liken ourselves to those of the world who had then arrived in finance and education. Consequently, are we then not challenged also by this gospel reading?


 Some biblical authorities say that the original gospel text ended here. It is taught that the following chapter was applied by a later editor. Therefore, if these scholars are correct, the initial telling ends with a rather appropriate phrase. The text tells us why this gospel writing even exists. Blessed John stated that he wrote this enchanting storytelling, so… “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”
 Therefore, if holding to this scriptural appraisal, we in modern society are now invited to highly recommend the Gospel of John. I especially contend that it be placed on the “must read” list for those who like a good book. When they ask us after reading, “How is this thing... this Resurrection possible…?”, surely we are invited to witness about the faith now given to us. We may say with certainty that the Spirit answers… “With God all things are possible!”
 Therefore, we see that it is for us who are made wealthy in the knowledge of our redemption.., those who have been granted faith without our seeing the tomb… to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. In the modern world we are called to tell the great story concerning the saving grace of Almighty God.

 Please enjoy our Easter turn around, and drive video...

 With God.... All Things Are Possible!