Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reminded: Woe is Me

Woe is me….

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law; justice and mercy and faith (in other words, Micah 6:8). These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.”

“Woe”…hmmm…where else have I seen that:
 This “woe” oracle reminds me of a similar one in Luke’s account of the Beatitudes.
Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God….
  But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation…”

Which then reminds me of these rich men:
 The young rich ruler was told to sell everything and give it to the poor and come follow Jesus. He didn’t do it. Jesus said it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

But apparently he didn’t think it was hard for the poor to inherent the Kingdom, for it is already theirs (i.e. blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God)…

Another rich man denies the crumbs from his table to the poor man Lazarus sitting outside of this gate. Lazarus dies and is then comforted in heaven, while the rich man (never named, just “rich”) is in Hades. Why is this? Abraham replied to the rich man “remember that in your lifetime you received your good things (i.e. riches) and likewise Lazarus evil things (i.e. he was a beggar/poor) but now he is comforted and you are tormented.

Which of course reminds me of the Song of Mary:
He has filled the hungry (in other words, people like Lazarus) with good things, and the rich he sends empty away.”

Which of course reminds me of Matthew 25, the “least of these” passage in which: 
The sheep are separated from the goats, one group going to heaven the other to hell, based on how we treated the “least of these”
What was this treatment?
Feeding the hungry, giving the thirsty drink, caring and visiting the sick and imprisoned, and opening your home to the immigrant.

Which makes me wonder:
Was Lazarus a sheep and the rich man a goat?

Which of course reminds me I need to repent, in which I recall the instruction of John the Baptist who says:
Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand”…
in which an onlooker responds, “what shall we then do?”
And the Baptizer responds to one of them,
“if you have two of something, give one of them away (or redistribute).”
Which he also called, “bearing fruit worthy of repentance.”

Which of course reminds me of two things:
Its more blessed to give then receive… and
The first century church community who, “had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all as anyone had need....nor was there anyone among them who lacked, for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and delivered the proceeds to those who had need.”

Which naturally reminds me of the “rich fool” (as called by Jesus) who decides to not sell his house, or give away his excess goods, but instead:
“pulls down his smaller barns in order to build bigger barns to store all of his goods and crops.” This rich fool says to himself, “Soul you have many goods laid up for many years, take your ease…” God replied, “Fool! Tonight your soul will be required of you.” (those are big words….)

Which prompts my recollection of this command to:
“not store up treasures on earth”.

Which then makes me recall:
We are told to pray “give us this day our daily bread” (not excess crops like the rich fool, or for our context, money and goods)…. and
That Jesus promises to give us our basic needs of food, clothing, etc. because loves us more than the sparrows or lilies.

Which reminds me that :
Jesus sat opposite of the treasury and witnessed “many who were rich give much
yet commended the poor widow who gave out of her poverty.
He commended her because she “gave everything she had” while the others “put in out of their abundance.”


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