kosmos and oikoumene

This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday of Advent in lectionary cycle C, the year when the Gospel of Luke is the primary source of our gospels. Today we continue to look at details of the narrative. In this final post, we look at the verses as Luke’s message pivots from the call of repentance to Israel, to a call of universal salvation for all people. Continue reading

Baptized

This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday of Advent in lectionary cycle C, the year when the Gospel of Luke is the primary source of our gospels. Today we continue to look at details of the narrative. The previous post discussed “the word of God” coming to John in the desert. Let us consider John’s mission.

He went throughout (the) whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins

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God’s Design

This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday of Advent in lectionary cycle C, the year when the Gospel of Luke is the primary source of our gospels. In the two previous posts we covered the historical and scriptural context of our gospel reading. Today we begin to look at details and how they help create Luke’s overarching theme: preparing the way. As Luke promised his patron Theophilus, the gospel will be an orderly presentation (Luke 1:3) – and so he begins with  history. Continue reading

First Advent – a final admonition

This coming Sunday is the start of a new liturgical year (Year C) and the first Sunday in Advent. In the posts this week we have looked  at the gospel in context and in detail. The reading ends with a final admonishment

34 “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise 35 like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. 36 Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

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First Advent: redemption

This coming Sunday is the start of a new liturgical year (Year C) and the first Sunday in Advent. In the previous post we were considering the Lukan usage of the word “sign” – 25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.

Luke’s use of signs only echoes the prophet Isaiah (13:9-10), Ezekiel (32:7-8), and Joel (2:30-31). Thus, these heavenly signs do not just point forward to the coming, but also backwards as fulfillment of the prophets’ word. Promise and fulfillment is one of the major themes throughout Luke. Just as Luke began with shepherds seeing the sign of a baby in a manger in fulfillment of the angels’ message, so this future coming is certain to occur in fulfillment of the prophets’ messages.

At that fulfillment Luke writes that people will be (a) in dismay, perplexed or (b) die of fright (could also be translated “faint”). These words are unique to Luke. But what is more significant is that there are two groups of listeners: “the people/they” in vv.26,27 and “you” in v.28.  The responses to what happens are quite different. The people faint (or die) from fear and foreboding, but you (the disciples implied) are to “stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (v. 28) For “you” the terrible signs symbolize the redemption that has come near. What does it symbolize for the “people”?

“Redemption” — this word (apolytrosis) occurs only here in all of the gospels. Although it occurs 7 times in Paul’s letters and twice in Hebrews. A form of this word (lytroomai) occurs in Luke 24:21a: “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” Another related word (lytrosis) is found occurs twice in Luke: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them” (1:68). “At that moment she came and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (2:38). Continue reading

First Sunday of Advent – a context

This coming Sunday is the start of a new liturgical year (Year C) and the first Sunday in Advent. In yesterday’s post we placed the Sunday gospel in the context of the Advent Season. Today we can find its place in the context of Scripture.This reading is taken from Luke’s gospel just following Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Jesus’ confrontation with the authorities in the Temple (which began back at 19:47, the cleansing of the Temple) now shifts to the future tense. Continue reading

Your Friends Make Known

The refrain from today’s psalm proclaims: “Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.” The words of psalm are taken from Psalm 145, verses 10-18.  The words proclaim the glory of God and the splendor of His Kingdom. They extol the justice, power and holiness of God’s works. The words announce the everlasting presence of the kingdom and the call to all to draw near.

I would have picked different verses from the same psalm.

In the first readings Paul makes mention of his friends who work to make known the kingdom and the Messiah. In the gospel, Jesus commissions 72 friends (He calls them “disciples”) “whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.” Their instructions included the command to “say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’”

I would have picked Psalm 145:3-7

“Great is the LORD and worthy of much praise, whose grandeur is beyond understanding. One generation praises your deeds to the next and proclaims your mighty works. They speak of the splendor of your majestic glory, tell of your wonderful deeds. They speak of the power of your awesome acts and recount your great deeds. They celebrate your abounding goodness and joyfully sing of your justice.”

One generation to the next, each one proclaiming the mighty works of God.

Here on the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, let us give thanks to God that he did what was his to do, passing on to countless generations the account of the mighty works of God in the person of Jesus, the Messiah, and in life of the early Church. Let us pray that we fulfill our role in passing on the story to the current and the next generation.


Oops…. forgot to post this yesterday!

The Gospel of Luke – The Death of A Savior

It is a sometimes very difficult pastoral situation, when a person has been truly wronged by the events that have unfolded with in a marriage, and I know that ultimately – in one form or another – I will let the person know that there are no innocent parties.  Indeed some are infinitely more innocent, but in the end there is rarely complete innocence.

Indeed we stand rightly condemned. But this gospel reveals that in the simple act of trust, there is salvation, beyond merit or worth, beyond categories of innocence or guilt. There are no scales. There is only the promise that our Savior remembers those who trust. We stand before complete innocence. Continue reading