Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), August 6, 2017 - Romans 5:1-9; Genesis 32:22-31 and Matthew 14:13-21

Romans 9:1-5

Original Testament to Grace

Oh, would more Christians viewed the "Old"
More like "Original," extolled
Just like the "New," a testament
To gospel, with the temperament
Of all the grace you find in Paul;
Although his people weren't enthralled 
By Christ, it works the other way
Around, for Christians oft betray
The faith in which our Lord was raised.
Instead of old dare be amazed
At how original and new
Is love by which our forebears grew.
- And so can you. 

Scott L. Barton

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

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Genesis 32:22-31 and Matthew 14:13-21  

                                 Marc Chagall, Jacob wrestling with the angel, 1931
                         Musée national Message Biblique Marc Chagall, Nice, France

                                   Vie de Jesus Mafa, Jesus Multiplies the Loaves

 Hilarious Unexpectedness

It's as if, like his grandfather,
He, too, plays a game of chicken
With this Yahweh, testing whether
He can entrust all that he has
To the promise of abundance;
He sends them off, unprotected,
Wrestling all night with what he's done.
But the grabber gets a blessing,
Although it doesn't come scot-free -
Faith limps in this, our family tree.

Along comes Jesus. He's alone,
In his own way, he's wrestling, too.
The crowds can't get enough of him;
Can his disciples carry on?
But they need another lesson -
Astonishing numbers he feeds!
Hilarious unexpectedness,
Not disaster we expect,
Is news that comes again this week,
When of this God, we dare to speak.

Scott L. Barton
[The phrase "hilarious unexpectedness" is from Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale. See]

The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had.

Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

* * *

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

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