The second week of Lent is all about listening to Christ it seems. The second Sunday sets the tone for the readings this week. Last Sunday’s gospel was about the Transfiguration and the lingering memory of the voice from the cloud that says “Listen to him (Jesus).” Since Monday, the gospel readings have been concentrated on what Jesus is teaching. Last Monday, the gospel account was from Luke 6:36-38, about being merciful “as your Father is merciful”. Yesterday, the gospel was from Matthew 23:1-12, “Call no one ‘Father'”. Non-Catholics would contend that this passage proves that Catholicism is bogus since Catholics call their priests “Father.” The more I look into the passage, the more convinced I am that these same non-Catholics are misled since the passage is about the Christian’s rejection of any religious authority that seeks to control. They miss the point of the subtle attack against the Pharisees here (who were called “Rabbi” “Father” and “Teacher”) who lay burdens on people and refuse to lift a finger to help them.
This morning’s readings were from Mt. 20:17-28 about power and authority within the Jesus-Community. The command to “Listen to him” from last Sunday’s Transfiguration account re-echoes once more here as Jesus teaches his disciples to be like the Son of Man “who has come to serve and not to be served, and to be a ransom for the many.”
Tomorrow’s gospel is once more from Luke 16, 19-31 about Dives and Lazarus, an article of which is posted here.. Then Friday, we have Matthew 21:33-43.45-46: The Parable of the Tenants. Finally, on Saturday, we have Luke 15, 1-3.11-32, the Parables on the Lost and Found.
In this series, only the reading from Friday seems to break away from the pattern of lessons to be learned from “The Son, The Beloved” since it is a challenge not to the disciples but to the religious leaders of the time. The rest, however, lend themselves to lessons in discipleship that is congruent with the message from the cloud: “This is my Son, the Beloved One. Listen to Him.”
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