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Lectionary 221: Straight Talk

March 1, 2017

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Lectionary:  221.  Thursday after Ash Wed. March 2. Deuteronomy 30:15-20. Psalm 1:1-2,3.4.6.  Luke 9:22-25:

All of our readings take the direct approach today.  Moses tells us, to choose life; to bless rather than to curse.  These direct statements help us to understand that the covenant of God made with Israel and for all who believe in God that this covenant is most important for our relationship with God and with one another. It is a perfectly clear prophetic message from one of the greatest of leaders and prophets, Moses.  To love the Lord means that God promises a long life in this passage. The context centers on the covenant of loving-kindness and mercy, and forgiveness.  It was given on Mount Sinai.

For me, Deuteronomy is the book of covenantal love in the Hebrew Scriptures just as John’s Gospel is likewise a total love commitment to the person of Jesus as our way, truth, and life.  Moses’ last will and promises to the people are found in Deuteronomy giving that final book a special place in closing the Torah.  John’s Gospel is also the final Gospel among the four.

Psalm 1 is a favorite of mine. It ,too, is very direct in how we are to live meditating on God’s word and avoiding evil.  As an opening psalm for the rest of the psalms it is a book of wisdom.  In pondering over the word of God a special Hebrew word is used. It can mean to mull over, to ruminate to ponder over  God’s word which leads to blessedness or happiness. (verse 1).  Meditating and pondering over enables us to make the right decisions in life and choose the way of righteousness, not wickedness, which is like chaff blown by the wind.

Luke’s Gospel is the Gospel focused on Jesus’ parables of compassion as well as his saying which emphasize compassion.  Today we hear, however, a much stronger saying that tells us we must die to self in order to live for God.  We take up our cross daily in order to enter into the mystery of Jesus’ suffering and death leading to new life through his resurrection.  Like the other Evangelists Luke mentions the mystery of the cross on three solemn occasions.  We cannot miss the message he gives us about our cross and his.  This Gospel bids us to enter into this mystery in the present moment. Amen.

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