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Showing posts from June, 2007

The Path of Obedience

This reading marks the turning point in St Luke's Gospel, where Jesus begins a roundabout journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. The point is that he is now on a collision course with the Jewish authorities and everything he does is building up to that final showdown.Some people don't want to be part of his confrontational approach, and Jesus makes clear that they are free to reject him if they wish. No one must try to coerce or pressurise them. Someone posting on this blog has been trying to persuade me that, because St Luke and other Scripture writers, use the stories of Elijah and Elisha as a resource when they are telling the story of Jesus, that necessarily means the stories about Jesus are made up. However, whereas the New Testament writers usually try to show how alike Elijah and Jesus are, here – interestingly – St Luke contrasts the two. Elijah believed in coercion, and in calling down fire from heaven. Jesus does not.
Even to those who are prepared to follow him, Jesus is…

New Life

St Luke implies, but does not say, that the widow and her family were poor.[1] This wasn’t true for every widow, of course. Rich widows had more control over their affairs than any other women. They could choose whether or not to remarry, whom to marry, and how to spend their money until they did marry again. But poor widows were in a real fix, because there was no welfare state, so they were dependent upon their children to earn money for them – especially their sons. And the widow of Nain had only ONE son! If they were poor, his death would mark the end of all hope for the rest of his family, including his mother. They would be reduced to begging, or to relying upon the charity of their neighbours.

Yet even a rich widow might grieve especially for the loss of her only son. If she cherished the memory of her husband, she would be especially conscious that it was her son who was supposed to carry on the family name. And, anyway, ONLY sons often have a special bond with their mothers.

If…