February 27, 2022
Sunday between February 25 and March 3 inclusive or
Sunday between February 25 and March 2 in a Leap Year.
Not used if assigned date follows Ash Wednesday.
May be replaced by Transfiguration Sunday if the assigned date is the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
Not used this year
Sunday Between May 24 and May 28 Inclusive, if after Trinity Sunday.
Proper 3, Ordinary Time 8
Read the passage at the bottom of this post: Luke 6:39-49, The Message or Luke 6:39-49, The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
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There are probably half-a-dozen different sermons that could preached from this text just by focussing on one saying and trying to ignore the rest:
- Seeing our own blind spots, and recognizing - and following - someone who doesn't share our blindness.
- Understanding what we don't understand, and recognizing - and learning from - someone who can teach us new understandings.
- Acknowledging our own faults / biases / prejudices, and removing them. This will help us to recognize how easy it is to have biases and be gentle when addressing them in others.
- Being careful not to judge a book by its cover. Focus on a person's actual conduct and its results not on what they say or look like.
- "It's who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds." (The Message. See below.)
- Whenever you start something new, make sure it is built on a good foundation. And - since storms will always happen - make sure you build before the storm hits!
Like most of the longer Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew, Chapters 5, 6 and 7, these sayings are not proclamations of the Good News that the Realm of God is at hand. Rather, they are wisdom sayings of how to live now in anticipation of that day when God's will is done on earth as it is heaven.
The key "take away" from all of these sayings is Verse 47:
I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them.
Jesus stresses that it is not enough to come to him and hear his words. We must also act on them.
This is when the Good News becomes hard news, because all of us who come to Jesus and hear his words will have to make some major changes in our habits, attitudes and behaviours to actually act on his teachings. This will have significant impacts on how we spend our time and our money. It may impact who our friends are, where we live, what work we do and how we do it.
These sayings point to the impossible possibility of heaven on earth.
They show us how God intends us to live together. But because this age is not living in the way God desires us, it means that opting to live God's way right now will require both wisdom and innocence; courage and humility.
Note: Historical background information in this post is drawn primarily from Bruce Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh, Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels, pages 249-251; and the writings of Amy-Jill Levine, et. al. See link below.
Luke 6:39-49 (NRSV)
39 He also told them a parable: "Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your neighbor, 'Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye.
43 "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.
46 "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I tell you? 47 I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. 48 That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house."
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Luke 6:39-49 (The Message)
39 He quoted a proverb: " 'Can a blind man guide a blind man?' Wouldn't they both end up in the ditch? 40 An apprentice doesn't lecture the master. The point is to be careful who you follow as your teacher.
41 "It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. 42 Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this I-know-better-than-you mentality again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your own part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
43 "You don't get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. 44 The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. 45 It's who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.
46 "Why are you so polite with me, always saying 'Yes, sir,' and 'That's right, sir,' but never doing a thing I tell you? 47 These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.
48 "If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. 49 But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss."
Scripture quotations from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © by Eugene H. Peterson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
* Link to Amazon.com Bibliography for Bruce J. Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh, Social Science Commentary on ... The Synoptic Gospels; The Gospel of John; The Book of Acts; The Letters of Paul; The Book of Revelation; and others.
+ Link to Amazon.com Bibliography for Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler, Jewish Annotated New Testament, The Bible With and Without Jesus, Short Stories by Jesus, Entering the Passion of Jesus, and others.