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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

     “Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?’ This he said to test/prove/tempt him (πειράζων αὐτόν), for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, ‘Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little…” (Jn 6: 5-7)

     What does it mean, that Jesus said this to Philip to “test” him? At the risk of sounding irreverent, I’d say that, when Philip was asked this rather-impossible question to “test” (or “prove” or even “tempt,” as the Greek verb here can be translated) him, I think that what the Evangelist John is telling us is that our one-and-only Lord of Surprises was simply teasing him. I mean, I think Jesus made a joke, beca...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) withstood them (Barnabas and Paul), seeking to turn away the proconsul (Sergius) from the faith. But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.’ Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand.” (Acts 13: 8-11)

Now, the Apostle Paul is not “nice” to the magician, having looked at him “intently.” (I can just imagine that “look”). Nor is the author of the Book of Acts,...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, ‘Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’ But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.” (Lk 9: 51-56)


So James and John helpfully suggest destroying an entire village by “fire from heaven,” just because it denied them lodging. To these two brothers Christ wittily gives the nickname “Boanerges,” which is understood to mean “Sons of Thunder” (Mk 3:17). It is quite a satirical nickname at the time it is given...

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