Luke 10:25-37 (5 Pentecost 2019, Proper 10C)

A priest, a Levite, a Samaritan. Three men had an open window of opportunity to be neighbor to the man who fell among thieves on the road to Jericho. 

Which one is not like the other two? The priest and Levite are clergy, religious leaders, pillars of their community. The Samaritan is a nobody, an anonymous Joe on the road. A Samaritan, despised by Judaean and Galilean alike who considered Samaritans to be half-breeds and heretics. They wouldn’t greet him on the road or talk to him at the town well. He’s not like the other two. The genius of this parable is that it forces a religious Jew, a synagogue lawyer, an expert in the intricacies of Torah, to identify with this Samaritan. You can almost hear the resigned reluctance in the lawyer’s voice when he has to answer Jesus’ question – Who was neighbor to the man who fell among thieves?

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Luke 10:1-20 (4 Pentecost 2019, Proper 9C)

In Nomine Iesu

Today’s Gospel of the sending of the seventy speaks to the church and her mission.  It is a preliminary sending, the church’s “vicarage” so to speak, prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection before the big sending with the disciple-making mandate to baptize and teach the nations. This episode is told only in Luke, for whom Jesus’ mission to the Gentiles, the non-Israelites, was a very big deal. Jesus is more than the Messiah of Israel, He’s the Savior of the world, the promised seed of Abraham through whom “all nations” of the world would be blessed. His cross extends in all directions, to the ends of the earth, to all peoples everywhere, to those who have heard and those who have not heard, to everyone you meet and everyone you know.

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Galatians 5:16-26 (3 Pentecost 2019, Proper 8C)

In our Old Testament reading, we heard about a burned out and dejected prophet Elijah who seems to have lost his way in the face of threats from Queen Jezebel. In the Gospel, we hear about three potential disciples whom Jesus seems to brush off as He sets His face to Jerusalem and His Good Friday cross. We’re not prophets like Elijah. We’re not potential recruits for discipleship. We’re baptized believers in Christ. We have been given to follow Jesus. Our struggle is not with the Jezebel’s of this world, though it may seem to be that way at times. Rather, our struggle is deep within us, a spiritual struggle of Flesh and Spirit.

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Luke 8:26-39 (2 Pentecost 2019, Proper 7C)

Jesus arrived by boat in the region of the Gerasenes, opposite Galilee. It was country. The goyim, the uncircumcized. Outsiders to Israel. He came to seek and to save the lost, even the lost outside the house Israel. Waiting on the shore to meet Him was homeless and naked man possessed by a “legion” of demons, living among the dead in the catacombs. The local authorities had seized him and bound him in shackles and chains, but he always managed to escape and flee back to the wilderness.

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Colossians 1:13-20 / 24 November 2013 (End of the Church Year)

Colossians 1:13-20 / Last Sunday (Proper 26C) / 24 November 2013

In Nomine Iesu

The end has come. The last Sunday of the church year. It’s a little artificial, perhaps. A little liturgically“geeky” to be celebrating the end of the year a month before the end of the calendar year, but that’s the way it goes with the Church that always has her eye fixed on the horizon, waiting for the dawning Day, waiting for the Bridegroom to make His appearance, waiting and watching for the Day no man can know when the Son of Man comes as a thief in the night.
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Luke 21:5-28 / 17 November 2013

We are quickly coming to the end of the church year. Yes, it’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to the end of all things and the destruction of the world as we know it. Oh, wait a minute! You weren’t thinking of those things, were you? You were probably thinking about Thanksgiving plans or getting an early jump on Christmas shopping or getting things in order before the busy December days hit. But the end of the world as we know it? That seems so 2012, doesn’t it? It all came and went with Harold Camping and the Mayan calendar, didn’t it?
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Luke 20:27-40 / 10 November 2013

Hypothetical questions. The “what if” question. Every teacher knows about these. The impossible scenario. The argument taken to the absurd. The question is a trap. It doesn’t come out of curiosity or a desire to be taught, but it’s designed to knock the teacher off balance and trap him. College sophomores are notorious for posing them. The question usually comes with the smug look of “Gotcha!” written all over the face of the questioner. Let’s see how the teacher handles this one! Let’s watch him wiggle his way out of this. Let’s lay the trip wire and see if we can catch him. It’s mostly for entertainment or for discrediting the person by posing something he can’t answer. Most hypothetical questions need to be challenged rather than answered.
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Luke 18:1-8 / 20 October 2013

“Jesus told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” The “they” are Jesus’ disciples to whom He has just spoken about the dark days of the end. And now He speaks about prayer. Persistent prayer. Nagging prayer. Prayer that for all intents and purposes looks like a pesky widow coming to a crooked judge who simply wears him down with her persistent petitioning.
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Luke 17:11-18 / 13 October 2013

We’ve been doing a lot of faith talk the past few weeks. Faith that forgives. Faith that moves mulberry trees. Faith that serves without boasting or bookkeeping. Today we hear about the faith of Ruth, a young widow from Moab, who becomes an Israelite and goes with her mother-in-law Naomi with the words, “where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried.” These are beautiful, faithful words of a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law expressing her faith in the God of Israel, a story that ends with Ruth becoming the great-grandmother of David and the ancient ancestor of Jesus.
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Luke 17:1-10 / 6 October 2013

Scandals, stumbling stones, tripping points inevitably come. They can’t not come. But woe to those through whom they come. Jesus is not talking about “temptations to sin,” as the translation you heard has it, but stumbling points to faith. Things that make your faith trip on your walk of faith. It’s like you’re walking along and all of a sudden your toe jams into something and you fall flat on your face. That’s what a “scandalon” is. Something you trip over as you are walking along. And walking through the rocky, uneven path of this life in which sin, death, disease, and doubt are strewn all over the place, there are no shortages of stumbling stones.
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