Saturday, 30 August 2008

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The Gospel this week is from Luke 14, with the story of the healing of the man with dropsy, and the parable of selecting your place at the wedding feast. In the story on the healing, the focus is on a discussion with the Pharisees on the lawfulness of healing someone on the sabbath. Wouldn't you help someone who fell in a well, or trapped animal on the sabbath, he asks rhetorically? It is the inner self, as St Paul puts it in the Epistle, acting from love, and not mere external compliance with the law, that is important.

The parable focuses on humility - take the lowest place we are urged, for the host can always invite you to take a more honoured place, but being asked to take a less favoured position might be embarrassing....And as the communio (from Psalm 70) points out, justice is in God's hands.

The rest of the texts for the day resonate around these two themes. The Introit, from Psalm 85, is the plea for help and healing, and the collect asks for grace. The epistle (Ephesians 3: 13-21) reminds us that undergoing tribulations and humiliations serves God's glory, and bring us to his Kingdom (symbolised by the wedding feast), a theme picked up by the Graduale and Alleluia verses.

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