Part 1 of 2
Daily Office Readings for Sunday of Proper 17: Year 1
“Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?” (John 8: 53).
Let us start at the end and work backward. They asked, “Who do you claim to be?” Well, our Lord Jesus claims to be, and in fact is, God Incarnate. The same God who commanded Abram to leave “his father’s house and go to the land I will show you:”(Genesis 12:1). God further tells Abram “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12; 2). So, yes, our Lord Jesus is far greater than Abram (or Abraham) who died along with all the prophets; and then was raised again in glory everlasting. So yes also, our Lord Jesus not only claims to be the Holy Creator, he is the Sustainer from whom all things came into being and have eternal life. Thank You Lord God in Christ Jesus.
Part 2 of 2
New Testament Eucharistic Readings for Sunday of Proper 17: Year B
“There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” (Mark 7:15)
The word defile here is used in the sense of sinfully polluting the person and turning them from the purity of God. We consume nothing that makes us more sinful, or turns us away from God. Yes, poisonous food will kill us, the abuse of alcohol will make us drop our discipline, and rotting food will make us sick. But our hearts, that is, our minds and souls are not defiled by them.
So I’m going to take an English alphabetical exchange here and move from the word defile to the word define. Exchanging the “l” for an “n” in the word defile will help us to better understand the meaning of this Gospel lesson. When asked to define her Church, Maya Angelou responded, “I do not define my Church, my Church defines me,” she said. We are our Church wherever we are. It is our Church that goes inside us and says who we are and how we are to behave, before God and before the World. So I say, let your Church come out and define who you are.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John