Sunday, February 23, 2014: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Book of 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 Lord your 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.”


> This is the only reading from Leviticus in the lectionary.

> It is a collection of pre-exile laws.

> However, Leviticus was written post-exile (587-539 BCE).

> Collection of laws based upon the Torah.

> There was a practice in pre-Canaanite times to make a sacrifice back to the gods.

> Israelites left the extras for the poor and for the foreigners (immigrants).

> The other commands tie into the Ten Commandments.

> Most laborers at this time were day laborers.

> You correct your neighbor – but do not hate them.



Psalm (119:33-40)


33  Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, *

      and I shall keep it to the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep your law; *

      I shall keep it with all my heart.

35 Make me go in the path of your commandments, *

     for that is my desire.

36 Incline my heart to your decrees *

     and not to unjust gain.

37 Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless; *

      give me life in your ways.

38 Fulfill your promise to your servant, *

     which you make to those who fear you.

39 Turn away the reproach which I dread, *

     because your judgments are good.

40  Behold, I long for your commandments; *

      in your righteousness preserve my life.


> The letter “hae” of the acrostic.

> Follows the Torah — eight different names for the Torah (statutes, laws, commandments, decrees, ways, promises, judgments, and precepts [not mentioned in these verses]).



A Reading from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians (3:10-11, 16-23)


According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. Do not deceive yourselves.  If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.


> Image of the church being God’s  building.

> Skilled master builder can also be translated as skilled architect.

> The other builder referred to was Apollos.

> The Christian community is referred to as the living temple of God.

> The “you” is the plural form.

> The contrast of human wisdom with God’s wisdom is an ongoing theme of Paul.

> Paul’s are “almost quotes” from the Old Testament as he modifies them to suit his needs.

> Socrates knew that he did NOT have great wisdom, which is what made him great.



The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew (5:38-48)


Jesus said, “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.”


> Nice ending!

> Still from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

> Not antitheses but intensifications.

> These are the 5th and 6th ones that Matthew gathered together.

> The following are the fifth intensification related to retaliation.

> Initially an “eye for an eye” was meant to limit retaliation.

> A slap on the cheek was seen as an insult.

> If you give up your cloak and are left naked, this would embarrass the assaulter.

> If you go the extra mile, it shows that you are in control.

> The Torah preached to give to those in need.

> The following sixth intensification deals with respecting your enemies.

> In the Old Testament, you may hate your enemies but do not mistrust them.

> The meaning of love was more like respect;  i.e. treat as a family member.

> Perfect refers to a completeness and fullness in God.

> Jesus sets ultimate goals to subscribe to.