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, December 26, 2022

Church in Retreat?

FOR THE First Sunday in Christmas, we hear of the ancient world’s reaction to the birth of Jesus, who was foretold as the infant “King of kings”. This jealous struggle continues for us yet today.

 “Now when they (the wise men) had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”  And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.”
  Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled,
because they were no more.”
  But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”  And he rose and took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.  But when he heard that Archelaus reigned over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
                                                                        (Matthew 2:13-23)
Dire Warning 
Though the story of our Lord’s birth written in Matthew is not all woven as bad on the political stage, since the “magi” who were noted “kings” from the east had already prostrated themselves (“proskonu” in the Greek)… we read that not all so-called powers were happy about the good news. First were those who were on the seats of local and regional government. Also included were leaders of religious realms. Many worship entities and their denominational contenders were anchored to the status quo.
 We find that Herod reacted violently, as had been his manner in past events of challenge. He ordered slaughter of any possible contenders to his throne. This spurred a second appearance of divine intervention as related in Matthews account. An angel warned the couple to quickly pack and leave for Egypt.
Wrong Neighborhood? 
 Rightly, many biblical authorities find the place of refuge as problematic, for historically it was away from Egypt that Moses fled into Midian. However, compared with the Moses tribulations, this is a new… yet similar story.
 Likely inspired by that earlier telling and corresponding to it in a number of ways, in some of its details the story also contradicts. To me the differences found point us to realize that even as political reactions to the salvation offered by God through the birth and sacrifice of his beloved Son center our attention… the situation serves also to challenge us. The text subliminally teaches that the direction of flight and shelter for the people of God may geographically differ according to time and place. We as the Church in modern context need to give thought to this political trend as we carry the Word into hostile fields of the world, whether the arena is domestic or foreign.
 However, we note also that just as Moses lived in Midian and was taught by God in that place, he did eventually return to Egypt. There driven, he engaged the politically powerful according to an assigned mission. In similar manner, Jesus was carried by his parents who moved by divine direction back into the nation of Israel.
Right Time; God’s Time
 Here in the reading the pronouncement that Herod had died looms large. With that ruler’s venomous jealousy abated, the Christ child returned to Israel and grew. In the same way, we of the Church may find a period of quiet growth in faith beneath the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, even after flight and back sliding. God will shelter the faithful from the influences of corrupt governments, apostate denominations and false religions.
 We clearly note that under the supposed oversight of a new Herodian tyrant and established religious authorities, which ignored the signs of his birth for reasons of retaining their established power, Jesus achieved adulthood.
 This last era as introduced in our reading gives angelic echo to we who are now the Church. We often find our Lord’s people humbly cradled amid threats of hatred and found retreating under venomous evil progressive powers in Church and state to shelter in a modern Egypt-like darkness. Notwithstanding, we in this text finally hear once again from God that there is restful hope available and the promise for renewed evangelism efforts using the gospel rightly preached… even when we cannot see daylight.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Eat and Run?

 FOR THE Celebration of Palm Sunday, wherein we read the Passion of Jesus Christ, we are called to make choices about what we say and where we stand. Do we like our predecessors simply eat and run, or not? Read...


 What of Judas, and We Ourselves?




Monday, March 28, 2022

Beloved and Only!


FOR THE Fifth Sunday of Lent, we encounter several lessons used for our gospel reading and study. For those who seek the Johnannine lesson, please be invited to view that examination at:

 The Divine Warrior: John 12:1-8

 For those who wish to follow the Lukan path as most do within the North American Lutheran Church and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, you are invited to continue here. We read…

And he (Jesus) began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country for a long while. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, that they should give him some of the fruit of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent another servant; him also they beat and treated shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third; this one they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; it may be they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ And they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants, and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “God forbid!”

 But he looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:

‘The very stone which the builders rejected

has become the head of the corner’?

Every one who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but when it falls on any one it will crush him.”

The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people; for they perceived that he had told this parable against them. So they watched him, and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might take hold of what he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor.

                                                                  (Luke 20:9-20)


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USING imagery sourced from the prophet Isaiah, Jesus addressed the refusal of Hebrew religious leaders to accept his authority. This parable sometimes termed also as allegory, thus established his authority and also predicted Jesus’ impending death and his subsequent Resurrection. Though Luke here omitted direct quotation of Isaiah 5:2, as seen in Matthew 21:33 and Mark 12:1, the story telling was recorded in varied form. In Mark and Matthew, a servants was killed; whereas, in Luke omitted that and only the son was killed. However, in all tellings the vineyard was easily interpreted as Israel, the owner represented God, the son was soon seen as Jesus; the tenants represented the religious leaders who were charged with caring for the religious life of Israel... and the servants were the prophets. A measure of fruit was requested from the tenants, who did not own the vineyard. 


 Some misunderstanding occurs, however, as we read that the owner of the Vineyard eventually sends his “beloved” son. The meaning in ancient Near Eastern family relationships is revealed somewhat in the Septuagint, as the Greek word agapÄ“tos was often used as a synonym for monogenÄ“s, meaning “one and only”. This points us to the unique status of the person as a beloved, ”only” child. The hearers of the parable were then situated to deduce that they were the “other” ones motivated to kill Jesus, when the story’s progress revealed to them that Jesus is revealing himself indeed as the Only Son. However, it seems that Luke’s hearers grasped this meaning long before the original hearers did as this story was read, simply because they were living in a post crucifixion and Resurrection milieu. By the power of the Holy spirit, they knew the dread of the story… and its dramatic and sacrificial details.


232320: In the Shadow of Empire: Reclaiming the Bible as a History of Faithful Resistance In the Shadow of Empire: Reclaiming the Bible as a History of Faithful Resistance
By Edited by Richard A. Horsley

  The early Church knew by the Spirit from Luke’s pen that Jesus’ used Psalm 118:22 in the story. They could also realize that God did vindicate his Son who is the “stone” and knew of those who yet trip over him and meet destruction.

 Luke was also very clear to them about the motives of the visitors in the parable. The author called them spies trying to catch our Lord by trapping him into offending the Roman authorities. By baiting him into making condemnations of heavy taxation, they had hoped legal offense would occur. In this way our reading revealed to readers and hearers that the conversation did not accomplish that end, but instead only widened the carnal gap between the innocence of Jesus and the insincerity of the listeners.


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 As we examine this reading, we who are yet sinful need to realize that we cannot and should not try to manipulate our God in order to entrap the divine loving nature into doing things our way. God is the foundational constant in our lives. As scripture elsewhere relates, though all else may change… the intent of our Lord as the owner of the Vineyard… is to gather good for us. So it is, and so it shall be.

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May the Peace of God be with You!