Our gospel reading for today begins with an invitation. Jesus says to the disciples: “Let us go across to the other side.” Jesus had been casting out demons and healing and preaching to the multitudes on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. He’d just finished preaching several parables, including the parable of the sower and the parable of the mustard seed. By the time he finished, it was evening, and the disciples were probably pooped and ready for bed. But instead of calling it a day, Jesus decides: no, we need to get in the boat right now and sail across the Sea of Galilee. And that’s what he and the disciples do. There is an urgency to this story that we’ve kind of come to expect from the gospel of Mark.
To eat meat, or not to eat meat – that is the question! Our passage for today from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians probably sounds kind of strange and antiquated to our 21st century ears. We don’t really talk much about religious dietary restrictions nowadays, or worry that the food we eat will somehow impact our relationship with God. But for the Christian inhabitants of first century Corinth, Paul was addressing a very serious concern, one that went well beyond the question about food. Continue reading
I don’t know about you all, but our texts for today leave me feeling a whole mess of different feelings. On the one hand, we have these lovely images of God as the compassionate shepherd looking after the flock, and caring for the “least of these.” But then we run into all this harsh language about judgment and destruction. It’s like being handed a bouquet of roses, only to have our fingers pricked by the thorns. Our gospel text today is particularly strong. This passage from Matthew is the only detailed account of the last judgment to be found anywhere in the New Testament – but even so, it’s definitely left an impression on the popular Christian imagination. Continue reading