Lectionary Reflection: Lent 2

Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 13:31-35

This week’s Gospel reading presents the memorable scene of Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem. In Mathew this scene takes place inside the city, between Jesus’ entry and his Passion. In Luke, however, it takes place outside the city, just before Jesus enters. What might Luke be trying to suggest?

Käthe Kollwitz, "Die Klage" (Lament), 1938-1940, Bronze © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2005

Gillian Rose reminds us that some of art’s most searing depictions of grief and mourning take place outside city walls: Antigone buries her brother outside the palace gates of Athens, Phocion’s wife gathers the ashes of her husband outside of Megara. In both of these cases, such acts of mourning were forbidden. Antigone’s brother fought on the wrong side of Thebes’ civil war and his body was left for prey, while Phocion was accused of treachery and executed, his remains burned and scattered. Mourning in such settings can be seen as many things: a sign of loyalty to family, fidelity to the gods, or resistance to unjust laws. Regardless, there is a sense that such acts of grief are more than acts of private affection; they restore rights, redeem honor, re-establish order.  In other words, they are public acts. They are acts of justice. They are offered as much for the city as they are for their loved ones. Continue reading

Lectionary Reflection: Advent 4: Micah 5:2-5a; Psalm 80:1-7; Heb 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-55

Lectionary Reflection: Micah 5:2-5a; Psalm 80:1-7, Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45(46-55)

In this week’s gospel reading, Luke presents the joyful scene of Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth.  Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth proclaims Mary blessed for believing “that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord” (1:45). Gabriel promised that she would not only bear a son, but that he would reign as king, restoring the Davidic throne and fulfilling the words of the prophets, as we read in this week’s selection from Micah: “But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel… And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace” (5:2,4).

That Elizabeth takes special interest in Mary’s faithfulness is fitting, as it was her husband, Zechariah, Continue reading