Pondering for Monday, September 21, 2020

Part 1 of 2

Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper 20:Year 2

 Psalms 80 77, [79]: Esther 4:4 to 17 or Judith 7:1 to 7 and 19 to 32Acts 18:1 to 11; and Luke (1:1-4),3:1-14

“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, 2during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.”  (Acts 3: 1 and 2)

 Wow!, Really? Look at all the prestigious titles of human achievement exhibited here.  We have the Emperor of Rome, Tiberius by name.  We have Pontius Pilate as Governor of all Judea. We have the puppet king Herod figure head, called the king of Galilee, and his brother Philip who lost his wife to his brother Herod as witnessed by John The Baptist.  Philip was the ruler of two small sections of the occupied Palestinian area of Judea; and we have Lysaniaas, ruler of Abilene.  In addition to these, self absorbed government rulers, we have the self absorbed clergy also, Annas and Caiaphas as high priests.  Now, here is the striking part; The Word of God by-passes all of these self absorbed men and goes to the selfless John hanging out in the wilderness sustaining himself on whatever the earth can provide.  He is the empty cup that God can fill because he has room to be filled.  The lesson here is that if we are full of ourselves, there is no room for God.

Part 2 of 2:

Eucharistic Gospel Reading for St Matthew Day

“ Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.” (Matthew 9:9)

Today is Saint Matthew’s Day.  Matthew is one of possibly seven (if you count Philip and Nathaniel) that we actually have written evidence of a call by Jesus to “follow him,” who accepted the invitation.  At least one was called but refused, such as the rich ruler in Luke (Luke 18:18 to 25). Again, he was a ruler who refused to be ruled. His cup was full of himself. We can read where John, and James, and Peter and Andrew, were fishermen but when called, they left everything and followed Jesus.  So too we have Matthew, also called Levi, who, upon being invited to follow Jesus, left his appointed task of collecting the Roman tax to follow Jesus.  So Matthew emptied his cup that was filled with a vile substance in order to fill it with the sweetness of our Lord Jesus.  How many of us are filled with ourselves, or with stuff we don’t like, and wish we could just empty ourselves and follow our Lord?  Well, we can.  Just open your eyes and ears and mind and heart.  We are still asked to “Come and follow Him!”

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John

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