Weekly Readings March/April 2018

weekdaysWeekdays in March and April 2018
Mervyn Tower

These reflections on the weekday readings are written by Canon Mervyn Tower, Parish Priest, Corpus Christi, Headington, Oxford.

Thursday 1 March
Second Thursday of Lent

Jeremiah 17.5-10
Psalm 1.1-4,6
Luke 16.19-31
The parable of the rich man  -  often known as Dives (Latin for rich) and Lazarus is unique to Luke. In the after-life the roles of each man are reversed. Dives, instead of his luxurious life-style, wearing the finest dyed linen (Gk: byssos for linen emphasizes this) and feasting, ends up in torment in Hades. Lazarus, starving and covered in sores with his lowliness stressed even further by the dogs, not acceptable for Jews, ends up transported to Abraham. Once again we see the Evangelist's predeliction for the poor, as sung of in the Magnificat (Lk.1.46-55). Jeremiah contrasts the one who focuses on what is merely human with the one who trusts in the Lord. The contrast ends by the proclamation that it is the Lord who searches the heart (Hb: lev meaning memory, intellect and will). The Scriptures today are hard hitting and demand a response of deep charity, one of the major Lenten practices. We can see Lazaruses every day on our streets.

Friday 2 March
Second Friday of Lent

Genesis 37.3-4, 12-13, 17-28
Psalm 104.16-21
Matthew 21.33-43, 45-46
Even early in Lent we are already thrust forward to a reflection on the Passion, with today's parable being taught in the Temple after the Entry into Jerusalem. The owner of the vineyard  -  a symbol of Israel  -  pulls out all the stops to help it produce fruit. After the failure and persecution by the tenants of the two groups of servants, probably intended to represent the Prophets, the owner sends his son. When he is killed, Jesus makes clear that the vineyard will be taken from the existing tenants, the leaders of the Jewish people, and given to others, ultimately the Gentiles. The passion of the son is mirrored in the story of Joseph  -  with his long sleeved coat, mistranslated in the LXX as multi-coloured  -  which has in its story the constant theme the hidden guidance of God. He is always present in our life, even in suffering and rejection, despite us often not being able to recognize this.

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