Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany/in Ordinary Time (A), February 19, 2017 - Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 and Matthew 5:38-48 (cf. also Leviticus 24:20)

Ten Commandments, illustrative
wood relief carving, Catholic Church
Paszyn, Poland

Come Again?

Oh, how so many seem to think

That Jesus taught an innovation,

That love for others as yourself

Was born after his incarnation;

But he, a Jew, knew well his faith,

And said anew just what the text does;

He simply spoke with grace and joy,

And put his money where his mouth was.

Scott L. Barton

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest.You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lordyour God.

You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Lord. You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the Lord. You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

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Matthew 5:38-48 (cf. also Leviticus 24:20)

Also, page up, or lick on the "Bonus poem for the kids" at the right for an idea for this Sunday.

Christian Evolution

Consider lex talionis,

That wonderful innovation

The Jews invented for us all.

It had been a life for an eye,

A clan for a life, and a tribe

For a clan - justice meant revenge;

But eye for eye was radical;

Life for life was retributive,

Not revenge, not, "We are god now."

Give thanks for Leviticus, then;

Give thanks for that step which allowed

Jesus to go one step further.

It's the progression of faith, see?

I guess evolution always

Takes a very long time to get

To where God wants us all to be.

Scott L. Barton
(with thanks to my good friend Ken Williams, who reminded me of the term lex taliones that Paul Hammer taught us over 40 years ago at Colgate Rochester Divinity School/Bexley Hall/Crozer Theological Seminary (now CRCDS).

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

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