Friday, December 14, Second Week in Advent
The homespun parable of the little children playing in the marketplace describes two groups of youngsters who cant agree on whether to play wedding or play funeral.
For centuries, scholars have tried to clarify its exact meaning and application, but parables are sometimes hard to nail down that way.
Many would apply it in this way: The groups of children inviting the others to play wedding or funeral represent John and Jesus. The group of children who pout and refuse to join in represent the people who wouldnt accept either Johns ascetic style or Jesus joyful style. These people refuse to be satisfied with either style because theyve made up their mind not to accept John or Jesus.
Being part of a group requires a certain amount of flexibility, adaptability. The bond among parishioners is not ultimately ethnicity, political preference, economic status, or like-mindedness.
It is the Lord.
Saturday, December 15, Second Week in Advent
To understand the biblical meaning of prophet, one has to distinguish it from the popular notion that a prophet predicts the future. A person who claims to do that is more along the lines of an oracle someone who is asked a question, consults the divinity, and gives a response.
The word prophet comes from a Greek word that means one who speaks on behalf of another. In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the another is God. Thus, prophets are those who speak on behalf of God. They have the gift of seeing things from Gods perspective and their primary focus is on the present. Insofar as they talk about the consequencesof the present course of action, they also look to the future. It would be best to say Prophets forewarn; they do not foretell.
The prophet Elijah (mentioned in the Gospel passage in the next post) was one of the greatest prophets in Israel, even though he left no written words. He was a solitary figure, and lived in caves.
Elijah was noted for his emphasis on Yahweh as the one and only God. When King Ahab married Jezebel (a pagan,) she introduced rituals to the god Baal into the court. Elijah strongly objected and he had to flee for his life.
In the three-year cycle of Sunday Scripture readings during Advent, the first reading always describes the words and/or actions of one of the prophets.