The small things

The gospel for today is one of those that is well-known and a bit confusing. It is the story of the “Dishonest Steward” (Luke 16:1-13; although today’s proclamation only goes to v.8).  It resides in the same chapter of Luke with the story of “The Rich Man and Lazarus” (Luke 16:19-31). In between are a few verses about other matters. Both of the two main stories begin with reference to a “rich man.” There is a lot going on. If you would like to read a more detailed commentary, it can be found here. Continue reading

Jesus and the Widow

This coming Sunday is the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time of Year B in the lectionary cycle. In the gospel we read: He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. 44 For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.’  (Mark 12:41-44) We are conditioned to consider that Jesus is continuing his castigation of the scribes (religious leaders who use their position for their own gain) and their social counterparts, many rich people. By juxtaposition we then infer that the poor widow is praised for her giving of her whole livelihood and placing her full dependence upon God. We infer that, and perhaps rightly so, but there are many other ways to consider the scene. Continue reading

Questions people ask…

People ask me all kinds of questions. These days most questions are about parish life, Scripture, church history, theology, and the topics one would expect to receive when one works in a parish. This week another question has been asked: “How is it possible for a modern submarine to hit an underseas mountain? Don’t they have sonar?”

Brad Lendon has a well-written and concise article which answers the questions far better than I would have. The shorter answer is that the whole purpose of submarine is stealth. Sonar is a loud-speaker announcement “Here I am” and so its not used for routine navigation. But that leads to the question of “don’t submarines have maps?” We have charts, but as Lendon wrote: “Basically, the surface of the moon is better charted than the bottom of the ocean is.”

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