Lectio (Yr A 5 Epiphany) Mt 5:13-20 (Jesus said, “You are the salt of the…
Lectio (Yr A 5 Epiphany) Mt 5:13-20
You are the light of the world.
What a tremendous thing to say. Each of us, with all our sins and frailties and failings are nonetheless that which gives light to the world! (MTS)
Yes, Jesus' s call to renewal is not done in a way that intends to accuse or condemn the average Jew, but rather to bring awareness of ancient covenant promises now being fulfilled. GG
A light shows the way in darkness-we are leaders and examples MJR
A city built on a hill cannot be hid.
This feels kind of odd and out of place in between the light metaphors. It does match the idea of showing and sharing yourself (MTS)
I can attest that even ancient, abandoned, collapsed cities on hills cannot be hid. (MTS)
Whether sunlight bathing city ruins, or candlelight a room, the metaphor of light fits the message, for "God is light." GG
No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.
One lamp only lights a single room. Poor folk would often live in a single room and only have $ for a single lamp. (MTS)
"house" would have multiple meanings, and I hear it here as communicating an expansive program rather a new sect. GG
under a bushel basket (GM)
How often do our church buildings look like bushel baskets? (GM)
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Light is not equated with good works. Rather, "your light" enables others to see your good works. Hmm. (MTS)
And the ultimate goal of your good works is so that others will give glory to God. It isn't for your own glory, which is kind of a radical idea in this day and age (MTS)
This "let" is middle voice, meaning it invites participation in something already happening. It's the preferred voice for those wishing to let God's light shine more brightly.GG
How would the people of the day have heard the phrase "Father in heaven"?
Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
We often think of Jesus as someone more concerned with the big picture than the details of Jewish law, but here he is explicitly favoring ALL the details (MTS).
for those who are confused-Jesus is not an either or but a both/and MJR
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
So, are we to take this literally? Quit eating pork? Shellfish? Wearing polyester/cotton blends? (MTS)
What happens if you are called "great" in the kingdom of heaven? What happens if you are "least" (MTS)
It does seem, though that even if you break the commandments you will get into the kingdom of heaven, just as one of the least (MTS)
Is the "and" in this sentence intended to be an indictment only of those who (falsely) teach, namely, the scribes Pharisees and others? GG
teachers have a very high bar-we are responsible for the flock MJR
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Another suggestion that you have to follow all the details of the law AND more. The Pharisees were known for adding to the law in order to be sure not to violate the law. He's saying you have to add to the addition (MTS)
It does seem that ultimately this is about "righteousness" being in right relationship with each other and with God. (MTS)
Were I living to hear these words coming from his lips this would make me sit up and listen! I imagine "say whaaaaaat?" would have been echoed at dinner tables and synagogues and village wells. GG
Jesus didn't consider the Scribes and Pharisees all that righteous. Was he setting a low bar? Using their righteousness as a foil for what real righteousness is like? (BJS)
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
Meals in the ancient world for most people were simple and not hugely brimming with taste. Salt would have really been essential to make meals more enjoyable (MTS)
Today we eat way too much salt, but in the ancient world that wasn't a problem, in fact salt was highly valued and needed both as a preservative and to get the needed salt in your diet (MTS)
Can salt lose it's saltiness? (MTS)
Sacra Pagina - salt can't lose its taste but it can become so mixed with other things that its taste is lessened (MTS)
Collectively, the sayings of salt and light strike the note of "renewal." It's a new call built on the old foundation. GG
lost its taste
Likemindedness = bland
At this time, Roman soldiers and officials were paid in salt-it is very valuable MJR