Deep and Wide

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 1:4-10 OR Isaiah 58:9-14 OR Isaiah 66:18-21
Hebrews 12:18-29 OR Hebrews 12:5-13
Luke 13:10-17 OR Luke 13:22-30

It’s a difficult week for ecumenical commentary on the lectionaries, a rare Ordinary Time Sunday when none of the Revised Common Lectionary and Catholic Lectionary passages match. Books and even chapters nearly align, but as the carnival barker says after the darts are tossed, “Close, son, but no cigar.” But this is the hand we’re dealt this week.

I’m suspicious of harmonizing texts. From Tatian’s Diatesseron to shepherds rubbing shoulders with magi in crèche scenes, well-intentioned acts of smoothing over create more problems than they solve. Even so, I’m enough of an intertextualist to identify a theme emerging from our varied readings this Sunday, one I believe as orthodox as a reader of scripture can get. When readers, in their own time and place, engage scripture with the heart and mind of the Church, we sense a double expansion of meaning and application. In short, we’re on to something when we find ourselves implicated in texts that grow wider and deeper at the same time. This Sunday’s texts offer examples of how to do this. Read more