Lectionary Readings Introductions
This site provides something different: many sites and books provide a brief summary of the reading – so that people read out or have in their pew sheet an outline of what they are about to hear. They are told beforehand what to expect. Does this not limit what they hear the Spirit address them? This site provides something different – often one cannot appreciate what is being read because there is no context provided. This site provides the context, the frame of the reading about to be heard. It could be used as an introduction, printed on a pew sheet (acknowledged, of course), or adapted in other ways.
Beth – El = House of El (God). This account is drawn from the E source (vv 11-12, 17-18, 20-22) [generally understood to have a Northern origin and dated c 850 BC] combined with a parallel version in J (vv10, 13-16, 19) [generally understood to have a Southern origin dated c 950 BC].
Second Isaiah or Deutero-Isaiah covers Chapters 40-55. This material originates during the latter part (c. 545 – 540 BCE) of the Babylonian exile. In October 539 BCE, the Persian king Cyrus took Babylon. He liberates them from their exile. Second Isaiah, as highlighted by today’s text, is strongly monotheistic.
First fruits were seen to be a promise of the harvest to come. Ancient Mediterranean cultures were very conscious of their impotence before nature and within the Hebrew tradition could subscribe that to Adam.
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Most scholars agree that originally the parables of Jesus had one message – a single, witty, sharp punch-line – like a joke. Here, the common rural peasant experience of family enmity leads to a last laugh by the land-owner who has led to the enemy’s shaming backfiring: the land-owner, in refusing to seek revenge, has not only a bountiful harvest, but extra fuel for his fires. The allegorisation that follows applies the simple rural parable into the new context of the Matthew’s urban readers.
Today’s readings online (link off this site)