This past Sunday I was afforded the opportunity to wonder what on Earth ties these first two readings with the Gospel.  The Hebrew Scripture, for once, really has good news!  It speaks of finding peace instead of war: ”…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Then we have The Epistle, full of love and hope: ”Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” Then the ceiling falls in with The Gospel reading, which I will leave in its entirety.

The Hebrew Scripture (Isaiah 2:1-5)

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.  Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.  O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

The Epistle (Romans 13:8-14)

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.  Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep.  For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near.  Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy.  Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

The Gospel (Matthew 24:37-44)

On the mount of Olives, Jesus said to his disciples privately, “For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.  Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left.  Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.  Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

Here we go again with that other Jesus.  The one that proclaims that people will be chosen in the “end.” I’m not so keen on this Jesus.  But, perhaps this is the complexity that lies in understanding the ultimate message in Jesus.  As Rev. Canon Marianne Borg said in her sermon, the first two readings actually append the Gospel reading by showing that living peacefully and with love for others will alleviate the dilemma of being “left behind.” In other words, the war-mongers and those that feign love will be left in the fields and will be left to grind the meal.

Perhaps.  Perhaps. 

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