When you go to seminary, you get to learn a whole world of new vocabulary words; words like: kerygma… hermeneutics… homiletics… epiclesis… eschatology! As I was reading our gospel for this morning, I kept thinking of one of these five dollar words that I learned in seminary: “pericope.” Anyone heard the word pericope before? It’s a good one. Pericope is a word that’s sometimes used to talk about a passage taken from the bible – it’s basically like how we use the term “reading” or “lesson.” But “pericope” comes from the Greek for “a cutting-out” and I find that image of cutting out helpful for talking about a pericope like this one that we read this morning.
The group of people who put together the three year series of readings that we follow – the lectionary – are responsible for cutting out the texts that we read together each Sunday. Most of the time, it’s pretty obvious why they chose to cut texts where they did – perhaps there’s a story or a parable with a clear beginning and ending or a section all on the same theme. But sometimes, like today, the place they chose to cut something doesn’t make much sense to me at all.