At a meeting one evening a week ago I sat next to a Born-again Christian lady who was full of talk about what the devils all around us were engaged in. She was shocked with this priest when he told her he wasn’t much concerned with the harm devils were causing. She quoted Bible passage after passage that spoke of devils, and she referred to each passage as a “Scripture,” regarding each of them as coming directly from God. Her beliefs lent her such enthusiasm that she had me feeling like a bitter old cynic.
However, for these fifty I have been happy with my Catholicism that follows Vatican II in seeing a major role of the human author for each book of the Bible.
Today’s reading, from the middle of Chapter Six of Luke’s Gospel, covers much of the sayings of Jesus we read in Matthew’s account of Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount.
Now, in reading from Luke’s Gospel we must keep in mind what he said in his first chapter. Coming along years later, he went to eyewitnesses from Our Lord’s time along with his researching other sources. In the course of that he came across a record of Our Lord’s sayings that are also found just in Matthew, but not in Mark and John.
The big difference in the way they presented a major part of those sayings of Jesus was that while Luke began by saying, “Coming down with them he stood on a stretch of level ground,” Matthew recounted some of the same sayings of Our Lord by beginning with , “He went up the mountain . . and he began teaching them, saying, “Blessed are the poor.”
No one had a device for recording Our Lord’s sayings, but onlookers remembered the gist of what he said, and God inspired Matthew and Luke to use their own talents for bringing those remembrances to life
While Matthew loosely quoted Jesus as saying, “Give to one who asks of you, and do not turn your back,” Luke in yesterday’s Gospel had Jesus saying, “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing will be poured into your lap.”
Back before paper or plastic bags everyone buying grain came wearing an apron they could spread out before the dealer scooping out the grain for them. Luke used that to help portray the beauty of Our Lord’s discourse.