Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, August 14, 2011, the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Posted each Thursday, Lectionary Ruminations focuses on the Scripture Readings, taken from the New Revised Standard Version, for the following Sunday per the Revised Common Lectionary. Comments and questions are intended to encourage reflection for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged. All lectionary links are to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead. (Other references are linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.)


Genesis 45:1-15
v. 1 Much has transpired between this week’s First Reading and this week’s First Reading. Does any of what transpired between the two readings matter?

v. 3 Why were the brother’s dismayed by Joseph’s presence?

v. 4 Why does Joseph repeat himself?

v. 5 Is this an example of Joseph engaging in some theological reflection?

v. 6 This is beginning to sound like a description of the U.S. economy!

v.12 Why is Benjamin singled out?

Psalm 133:1-3
v. 1 Is this supposed to be a description of Jacob’s family? Before or after the reunion narrated in the First Reading?

v. 2 I have always appreciated the sensual nature of this verse.

v. 3 What and where is Hermon? What is significant about Hermon’s dew? What is the Lord’s blessing, life for evermore?

Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
v. 1 Might have answered this rhetorical question differently after the shoah? Even though we are currently reading the Joseph narrative and the Pauline corpus lectio continua, the “Benjamin” connection between this Second Reading and the First Reading is a nice one.

v. 2 Foreknew?

v. 29 Christians in particular ought to remember this verse when engaging in dialogue with religious Jews.

vs. 30-31 Who are “they”?

Matthew 15:(10-20) 21-28
v. 10 I think every time Jesus says something like “listen and understand” that we can expect some enigmatic saying to follow.

v. 11 What comes out of the mouth?

v. 12 What did the disciples think?

v. 13 Does this verse reflect a negative view of the Pharisees?

v. 14 Leave them alone even though they are blind? Or “because” they are blind?

v. 15 What parable?

v. 16 Me thinks the answer is “YES”!

vs. 17-18 Oh, that parable!

v. 19 All these come from the heart? This is an impressive list. Is anything not mentioned that you might have expected to be here?

v. 20 Is this a comment about religion or hygiene?

v. 21 Is there anything significant about Tyre and Sidon?

v. 22 What makes a “Canaanite” woman different than any other woman, or a Jewish woman? What do you know about “the Jesus prayer” and Hesychasm and the Philokalia?

v. 23 Why does Jesus ignore this woman? Why do the disciples want to send her away?

v. 25 This is the second time this woman calls Jesus “Lord”!

v. 26 Did Jesus just call this woman a bitch?

v. 27 Did this woman just accept the insult of being labeled a bitch by Jesus yet still refer to him as “master”? Must “crumbs” refer to bread crumbs, or just any ole leftover?

v. 28 Now Jesus refers to her as “woman”! What makes her faith “great”? Instantly? Really? How would anyone know?

ADDENDUM
Can we draw any parallels between Joseph in the First Reading and the woman in the Gospel reading? How might the Second Reading enlighten our understanding of both the First Reading as well as the Gospel Reading?

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