Thursday, July 30, 2009


First Reading: Ex 40:16-21, 34-38
Psalm: Ps 84:3-6a, 8a, 11 -- How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
Gospel: Mt 13:47-53

And he replied, "Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old." - Matthew 13:52

In today's gospel, we hear more parables on the kingdom and how we will be separated, the just from the unjust, at the time of judgment. But more than that, we we hear a statement from Jesus that seems almost out of place among the rest of the parables; the last one he speaks before departing (shown above). Jesus presents this after he seems to have finished and asks whether the disciples understand. It almost seems an afterthought.

In Jesus' time, the scribes are those lucky people that were educated. They would be like the college undergraduate today. After receiving the basic education (scribe) they would continue on for particular training in a high office, like a lawyer or a doctor does today. Some scribes were tasked with the copying and preserving of the Torah and the laws of Moses. It is also the task of these scribes to teach and interpret the law for the rest of the Jews.

In this light, Jesus meaning with his parting message becomes more clear, and it takes on a very personal meaning. He is instructing his disciples to be as scribes, to record what he is telling them and to interpret it properly for the people. Not everyone is to interpret, but those who have been instructed, given understanding. Furthermore, they are to use both the new (Jesus teaching) along with the old (the Old Testament and laws of Moses) to teach and instruct. Our salvation is in the New Testament, but its history, and therefore, understanding of it, are within the Old Testament.

In our own day, we should take note also. At the time Jesus was speaking, every person was expected to be familiar with the Torah, so the people to whom he was speaking already had a basic knowledge of the scripture. The more learned were the ones who read deep into meanings and interpreted, but they were also the ones who rejected Jesus when he came. They were so caught up in their own interpretations that they could not see the true one staring them in the face. Thus, we are given a directive and a warning. Those who have understanding are to instruct those whose understanding is not complete, as the master of the storehouse distributes to all. However, we must be very careful not to get caught up with interpreting and lose sight of the plain message.
At that time Jesus said in reply, "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike." - Matthew 11:25

Heavenly Father, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Thank you for sending us teachers to guide us truly in your word. Lord, grant that we who attempt to share your good news with others may be guided by the Holy Spirit. Lead us, Lord, that we might not lead others astray. We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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