Sunday, 24 August 2008

My Thoughts on the Bible Readings for Today

It seems the business of God giving people full authority is not found only in the gospels. Today's reading from Isaiah demonstrates clearly this fact (compare God giving Eliakim son of Hilkiah the key to the house of David with Jesus giving Peter the keys of Heaven). Nor is the fact that Jesus made Peter the rock on which he will build his church something new. There is a tradition in ancient Israel which said that when God saw Abraham, He exclaimed: "I have discovered a rock to found the world upon". See the similarities?

Why is it that only Peter out of so many of Jesus' disciples journeying with Him and other Jews flocking to Him who identified Jesus as "the Anointed One, the only begotten Son of God"? It's because Jesus' heavenly Father chose Peter not only for this but also to be the rock on which Jesus will build His church. Why is Peter chosen? We have no idea, but IMHO one of the reasons may be because Peter was flawed. He was impulsive, attention-seeking, fearful, quick to anger, etc. (note the number of times in the gospels when Jesus praised Peter for one action and immediately rebuked him for another). But God is not looking for perfect people to serve Him, but rather flawed sinners so that in guiding that sinner to serve Him He would not only heal that sinner but also show the world how powerful He is (after all, what power is demonstrated in polishing what is already perfect?) For His power is perfected in our weaknesses.

Memorial of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle

- Bartholomew [Greek: Βαρθολομαίος, transliterated "Bartholomaios", Aramaic: bar-Tôlmay (תולמי‎‎‎‎‎-בר‎‎), meaning son of Tolmay (Ptolemy) or son of the furrows (perhaps a ploughman)] was one of the 12 Apostles of Christ Jesus.
- Bartholomew is one of the apostles on whom no word is reported nor any individual action recorded in the New Testament, though he appears here and there in the New Testament.
- according to Syriac tradition, Bartholomew's original name was Jesus, which caused him to adopt another name. Other traditions have him erving as a missionary in India, Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia, and Lycaonia after the Ascension of Our Lord.
- A local tradition in Armenia has him martyred at the site of the Maiden Tower in Baku, Azerbaijan by being flayed alive and then crucified head down (this fate has led to him being adopted as the patron saint of tanners).
- After his martyrdom in Armenia, his body is said to have been washed to Lipari (a small island off the coast of Sicily), where a large piece of his skin and many bones are kept in the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew the Apostle.
- St. Bartholomew is credited with many miracles having to do with the weight of objects.
(The above is taken from Wikipedia)

Bible Reading for Today 21st Sun of Ordinary Time (Memorial of St. Bartholomew the Apostle)

Here's the reading for today Sun 23 Aug:

Isaiah 22: 19-23
Thus says the LORD to Shebna, master of the palace:
“I will remove you from your office; you will be thrown down from your position. At that time I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah. I will put your robe on him, tie your belt around him, and transfer your authority to him. He will become a protector of the residents of Jerusalem and of the people of Judah. I will place the key to the house of David on his shoulder. When he opens the door, no one can close it; when he closes the door, no one can open it. I will fasten him like a peg into a solid place; he will bring honor and respect to his father’s family.”

Romans 11: 33-36
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how fathomless his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has first given to God, that God needs to repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.

Matthew 16:13-20
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.