For A Daughter

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(Listen below) Beloved, do you remember the green light at the end of the Block Island jetty? I was there today and I saw you as when you were six years old, bounding over the huge stones, joyfully determined to reach the light  on your own. You let me trail behind you then, but would accept no help. When I caught up Continue Reading →

Listen!

“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.  — Matthew 18:15-17, 21-22

  I went to a college where I was miserable. I was supposed to be happy there because this was the “family college,” the school that my father had always wanted to attend. Dad was an orphan, brought up by aunts during the Great Depression. Although he had won a partial scholarship to the place, the few extra hundreds of Continue Reading →

Getting the Best of Jesus

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.  — Mt. 15:21-28

Recently, I was working in a church kitchen with some folks who knew of my writing when someone asked me what I’m working on these days. I replied that I’m writing an essay on the Canaanite woman who pleads for healing from Jesus for her suffering daughter. “Isn’t that the woman who got the best of Jesus?” one lady asked. Continue Reading →

The Pearl

The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.— Matthew 13: 45-46

In this one-line parable from the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus equates the “Kingdom of Heaven,” with an all-out search for what is most valuable in life. But Jesus used the word ‘kingdom’ quite differently from the way we use the term today. The biblical Greek for ‘kingdom,’ βασιλέα, and the Aramaic word  behind it, malkut, refer not to a place Continue Reading →