Being known: context

39 And he told them a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? 40No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. 41Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye. 43 “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. 45 A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.

[vv.46-49 are not part of the Sunday gospel, but are integral to Luke’s narrative]

46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?47 I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them.48 That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built.49 But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”

Context. In the 5th Sunday readings (Lk 5:1-11) we have the account of the calling of the first apostles from their labors as fishermen: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” (v.10). Luke 5 quickly recounts miracles that we see as Messianic signs (curing a leper, curing the man on the stretcher/forgiving sins, answering why He ate with sinners), and then moves into Luke 6 where he narrates encounters with the Pharisees and scribes who question Jesus on the Mosaic Law. And then, Jesus “reconstitutes” a new Israel as he calls 12 apostles.

In the 6th Sunday gospel (Luke 6:17, 20-26) and the 7th Sunday (Luke 6:26-38) we have the Lucan version of the great interpretation of the Mosaic Law: The Sermon on the Plains (Matthew’s account is referred to as the Sermon on the Mount). With the apostles the Sermon takes on the character of an official instruction for the whole church assembled under its leaders.

Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain” sets forth Jesus’ apostolic instruction/ethic for daily life in detail. The sermon begins with a recognition of the disciples’ blessing as a result of God’s grace. The rest of the sermon gives the ethical response to the grace of being such a beneficiary. Disciples are to live and relate to others in a way that stands out from how people relate to one another in the world. Jesus points the disciples to understand the nature of their heavenly Father: love and mercy – even to those who do not deserve it – including ourselves.

This is the transformation needed to become a disciple – and then go into the world to bring others into the Kingdom.

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