Lectionary Year A
October 27, 2002
Matthew 22:34-46

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) This passage's "theological 'center of gravity'" seems to be God's Commandments to love both God and neighbor. Of course, the love highlighted, the word chosen of the 3 most common words for love, is the word that best describes God's kind of love, agaph. Ergo, this love is almost as theologically significant in this text as the God of this love might seem to be. Then, God's prioritizing the Commandments' orders and greatness and numbers of importance, which becomes two first place groups rather than one through ten or more. Next, perhaps God's comparing love for neighbor with loving oneself, which makes it comprehendible if not more possibly to do. After these items, the others seem secondary in this lection. The lesser significant elements include the dialogues, the Law and the Prophets' hanging on the two Commandments, the question, re: Jesus' parentage, and His final question's going unanswered.

B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) 34 But the Pharisees having heard that He (Jesus) silenced/muzzled the Sadducees, they gathered unto Him, 35 and questioned one from them [a lawyer] testing Him; 36 "Teacher, which commandment (is the) greatest in the Law?" 37 But He said to him, "You shall love (the) Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul/ psyche and with all your spiritual life/understanding/intelligence/mind; 38 this is the greatest and first commandment. 39 But second (is) like it; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these the two commandments (the) entire Law hangs/depends and the prophets." 41 But having still been gathered/collected/assembled together, the Pharisees questioned Him (this Jesus) 42 saying, "What do you think concerning the messiah/Christ? Whose son is He?" They said to Him, "of David." 43 He said to them, "How then David in (the) Spirit calls Him Lord saying; 44 'Said (the) Lord to the Lord of mine; 'Sit on of the right hand of mine, until if I should/might make/set/place your enemies under/beneath/underneath your feet; 45 If then David calls Him Lord, how can He be his (David's) son?" 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word nor presume anything from that the day to question Him any more/again.

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) This text reminds us of interviews on television by the likes of Jim Lehrer, Connie Chung, Bill Moyers, Barbara Walters, Larry King, etc. The most impressive one lately heard is Weekend Edition Saturday's Scott Simon's interview with James Taylor who had just released his new CD, "October Roads". He claimed that many of his original lyrics just come to him, he writes them, records and publishes them and then begins to wonder what the lyrics mean. He sees life as a journey. It is, isn't it?

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