Let’s take a brief look at both readings.
The First Reading comes from a thousand years before men learned how to write in Hebrew. That was a thousand years after Abraham, so we wonder if these stories about Abraham or factual.
Well, Archaeology has unearthed evidence that Abraham’s people settled where Genesis says they did; so, there is some truth in the Genesis accounts.
But there are differences in the way those old stories were handed down by different branches of Abraham’s decedents. For instance, Chapter 37 of Genesis carries two contradictory accounts of how his brothers came to send Joseph off to Egypt. Both contradictory accounts couldn’t be right, but both could be wrong.
With the Second Reading, Matthew’s Gospel presents Jesus as having given us these sayings all together while he was preaching from the Mount; but the saying are scattered in Luke and Mark.
The way Matthew puts them together here reminds me of the way Google put together the most popular sayings of Will Rogers. Let me say something about Will Rogers and his popular sayings.
Will was a Cherokee Indian whose tricks in swinging a lasso got him on the stage in Ziegfeld’s Follies back in the 1920’s. His rope tricks were entertaining, but what held his audiences were the comments he made while slinging a rope, and Google has gathered his sayings, the way Matthew gathered the sayings of Jesus. Let me quote some of the down home sayings of Will Rogers.
“We are all ignorant, but on different subjects.”
“If we closed down the colleges it might get everyone studying the way Prohibition got everyone drinking.”
“What keeps our politicians in office is the short memories of the American people.”
“Diplomacy is the art of saying, 'Nice doggy' while you are reaching for a rock.”
I can’t help overhearing the conversations at neighboring restaurant tables, and I can guess what news analysts the people listen too. It reminds me of a Will Rogers comment from back before TV. He said,:
“All I know is what I read in the newspapers.”