Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lectionary Notes

Some Notes for Proper 13 in Year C
27 June 2010: The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

The Sentence, which is taken from 1 Samuel 3.9 and John 6.68, is not obviously connected to the readings for Year C. Since we use it just before hearing the Gospel it should be understood as a prayer that we may listen attentively.

The BAS Collect is closely linked to the reading from the Letter to the Galatians: ‘For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself”’ (5.14).
The Readings
2 Kings 2.1-2, 6-14
The Bible tells of only two people were taken up to heaven without dying: Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah. These assumptions are fulfilled in a more wonderful way in the ascension of Christ who died and rose again.
At the end of last week’s reading, Elijah had been commanded by the Lord to anoint Elisha to be prophet in his place (1 Kings 19.16); he found him ploughing, with twelve yoke of oxen (symbolic of the tribes of Israel?) and cast his mantle over him. Elisha asked permission to bid farewell to his parents before following the prophet, which was granted (19.19-21). 1. Now it is time for Elijah to be taken up into heaven. He sets out with Elisha from Gilgal,. There were several Israelite cities called Gilgal; this one is probably to the north of Bethel. Three times on the way [verses 2, 4, 6], Elijah asks Elisha to stop, and three times Elisha declares that he will go on. Some say that this is a test, to determine whether Elisha is truly loyal to his master; the commentary of Rashi says that Elijah ‘wished to drive him away because of his [Elijah’s] humility, so that he would not see him being taken away.’
5. The company of prophets, literally, the sons of the prophets. These were members of an order who prophesied in a group. See 1 Samuel 10.6-8, 10-13. they figure prominently in the stories of Elisha as his adherents and dependents.
8. Elijah’s mantle is the symbol of hius prophetic authority. His striking the water recalls Exodus 14 and Joshua 3.
9. A double portion: a double share is allotted to the eldest son in Deuteronomy 21.17.
10. You have asked a hard thing: Rashi’s commentary says, ‘It is impossible to give you more than I have in my possession.’ Nonetheless, if you see me as I am being taken from you, ‘then I will be able to do for you more and more.’
11. a chariot of fire and horses of fire: fire is a theme through the whole story of Elijah: see 1 Kings 18:38 and 2 Kings 1:9-16. This second passage ties to the Gospel reading appointed for today.
12. Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen! Rashi has: ‘Jonathan [renders:] My master! My master! who benefited Israel with his prayer more than chariots and riders.’ See also 2 Kings 13:14. Father has been used from ancient times for addressing religious figures. See Judges 17:10.
13. He picked up the mantle of Elijah: since clothing is understood as an extension of the person, Elisha thus assumed Elijah’s role and identity.
14. Elisha’s parting of the river with Elijah’s mantle shows that he is the prophet’s successor. Indeed, in Rashi’s Commentary we read that ‘Elisha’s splitting [the Jordan] was doubly as great as Elijah’s, for in the beginning there was the merit of them both, while here was his merit alone.’
Elijah’s return before the Day of the Lord is promised in Malachi 4.5-6, a passage which is applied in Luke 1 to John the Baptist.
Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20
Voce mea ad Dominum
This Psalm is classified as a lament, a ‘prayer for deliverance from personal trouble.’ Some suggest, however, that the ‘I’ of the psalm speaks for the whole community. Verses 1-6 spell out the psalmist’s miserable condition. It is so bad that he is tempted to question God’s justice and love [7-10]. Only the first two verses of these sections are part of the selection. In verses 11-15, to encourage his faith, he recalls God’s wonders of old The mightiest of acts was the parting of the Red Sea through which Moses and Aaron led the people. A fragment of an ancient hymn is quoted to celebrate God’s power [16-20]
2. in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying:: another possible translation is: ‘my wound oozes at night and does not abate’.
15. With your strong arm you redeemed your people is another reference to the Exodus. See Exodus 15:6, 12-13.
The Epistle: Galatians 5: 1, 13-25
In Galatians 5 St Paul counsels his readers to preserve the freedom they have in Christ (vv.1-12). The opening words, for freedom, are emphatic and sum up the teaching of the preceding part of the letter: this is freedom from the Law and its ritual demands, not license.
Our reading today jumps over the following eleven verses to the next section, a warning to walk according to the Spirit, not to the Flesh. It is very important that we do not take the word ‘Flesh’ to mean simply the body and especially not simply the sexual part of human life. Rather it means here all of human nature when it is apart from God. Consider the catalogue of works of the flesh in verses 19-21: are all of these what we would consider to be ‘fleshly’? In a peoples edition of the Roman Missal I found a translation (in fact more a paraphrase) of verses 16-17 which might make the real distinction a little more easily seen:
‘Let me put it like this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit. The Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions.’
Since we all wish to be free, this reading calls us to ask what we mean by freedom.
13. you were called to freedom: Paul tells the Galatians that ‘they were called to freedom’, a reminder that their freedom is not self-generated. Their freedom is rooted in what Christ has done in this world for our benefit.
Verses 19-21: Such lists of vices and virtues were common in the ancient moral instruction, and Paul made use of them more than once. See also Romans 1:29-31; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 6:9-10.\
16. Live by the Spirit. This is literally ‘walk by the Spirit’; ‘walking’ as a metaphor for one’s way of life is common in the Scriptures and is not difficult to understand. In verse 25 (If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit) the same verb is translated as ‘be guided’.
Verses 22-23: compare 2 Corinthians 6:6-7.
Verse 24. Compare Galatians 2:19-20.

The Holy Gospel according to St Luke 9:51-62
a. 9.51- 56. The beginning of the journey to Jerusalem. The declaration that time of Jesus’ taking up is near begins the second part of the Gospel, which ends with the account of our Lord’s being taken up into heaven at the ascension (24.51). Jesus sends messengers to a Samaritan village to make preparations for his entrance there. But the villagers decline to receive him because he is on his way to Jerusalem. Thereupon James and John ask permission to call down fire on them, but are rebuked by Jesus, and the company goes on to another village. This incident is not in the other Gospels.
51: When the days drew near for him to be taken up; literally: When the days of his taking up [assumption] drew near. As with the use of the word exodus in the account of the transfiguration, so here Luke packs a whole theology into the word analēmpseōs, which means an assumption, a reception into heaven. The word calls to mind the assumption of Elijah in today’s first reading, as well as other parallels to Elijah in the Gospel. But Luke uses the word here in a thoroughly Johannine fashion, to cover the whole complex of events by which Jesus made the transit from earth to heaven—crucifixion, resurrection, & ascension. See John 3.14, 8.28, 12.32-34. So St Cyril understood it to mean: the time ‘to accomplish His-life-giving Passion, and ascend up to heaven’. He set his face to go to Jerusalem. The expression set one’s face means here a fixed resolution, Jesus’ obedient determination to fulfil God’s will despite all opposition.
54: Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them? James and John want to emulate Elijah (see 2 Kings 1.10-12). Though Jesus rebukes them [55], it is an impressive testimony to the power of Jesus that the two brothers had no doubt in their own ability in is name to call down fire from heaven. Some later manuscripts give a longer reading in vv 55-56 which is found in the King James Version: But he turned and rebuked them, saying, 'You do not know of what spirit ye are. The Son of man did not come to destroy but to save souls.' Then they went on to another village. The additions, which are not in the most important manuscripts, are quite in keeping with the spirit of the incident, and must be regarded as the attempt of an intelligent scribe to make the story more clear.
b. 9.57-62: Three doubtful disciples. A man offers to follow Jesus anywhere ; our Lord warns him that it is to follow a homeless leader. Jesus calls another man, who immediately excuses himself on the plea of filial duty, and is rebuked for doing so. A third offers himself if he may first bid his people farewell. Jesus warns him against hesitating discipleship. The NJBC warns us against taking these lessons too literally, for in all three, Jesus uses hyperbole or over-statement ‘to jolt listeners out of their staid way of ordering their universe and to view existence from an entirely new angle—that of discipleship in response to the kingdom of God preached by Jesus.’
57: In Matthew 8. 19 this incident is reported of a scribe and placed at an earlier stage in Jesus’ ministry; the second incident is told of a ‘disciple’ in Mat 18.21-22. The third is not in Matthew. Probably the three incidents occurred at different times, and are here placed together because of their similarity.
60. Let the dead bury their own dead. This difficult saying is usually interpreted as referring to ‘the spiritually dead’. Another commentator says ‘‘Another proverb, or an original utterance to be taken metaphorically, meaning Do not live in the past, do not be so absorbed in lamenting the dead as to forget the needs of the living.’ On the urgency of proclaiming the Kingdom of God, see also Luke 10.4
62. No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God: NJBC notes: we must not think of the modern plough but the very light plough of ancient times. It was guided by one hand while the oxen were driven with the other. J Jeremias noted: ‘This primitive kind of plough needs dexterity and concentrated attention. If the ploughman looks round, the new furrow becomes crooked.’
Dear Readers: There will be no lectionary notes in the month of July.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lectionary Notes

Some Notes for Proper 12 in Year C
20 June 2010
The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

The Sentence for Year C is John 10.27; it makes more sense in the context of the mass for this Sunday in the Roman Missal than it does in the RCL. There is nothing else of the Shepherd theme in our propers.
The Collect’s reference to the storms that cause us to be afraid and petition against despair and unbelief relate it to the Gospel for Year B (Mark 4.35-41)

The Readings
First Reading: 1 Kings 19:1-4, (5-7), 8-15a.
Elijah’s challenge to Ahab and Jezebel came to a head in the great contest at Mount Carmel, which is recorded in 1 Kings 18.14-46. (You might like to note, by the way, that the name Elijah means Yah is God. Yah is a form of the divine name YHWH, the LORD.) Queen Jezebel is enraged and swears by her gods to destroy Elijah as he had slain the priests of Baal (18.40). Despite the display of the LORD’s power at Carmel, Jezebel was still formidable in human terms and in fear for his life Elijah flees from Jezreel in the north [18.46] about 130 miles to the far south of Judah, to Beersheba on the edge of the wilderness [19.3].. From here he is sent by God further into the wilderness to Mount Horeb (also known as Sinai) where God had delivered the law and the covenant to Moses (Exodus 19). If the geography is meant literally, this is a further 200 miles. In this long journey only the LORD’s power and help sustain the prophet (19.4-8).
Elijah has fled to Horeb not only to save his life, but because he feels he has failed in his mission to vindicate the LORD and bring abiut a renewal of his covenant against Baal. So at the place where the covenant was given he seeks the LORD of the covenant in prayer.
Our version says that when Elijah came to the mountain ‘he came to a cave, and spent the night there’, but the original speaks not of a cave but of the cave. The difference is not trivial, for this detail is meant to recall Exodus 33.17-23, when the LORD makes his goodness pass before Moses on the mountain. The LORD said to Moses, ‘while my glory passes by I will put you in the cleft of the rock’ [Ex 33.22] Rabbinic commentators said that the cave here ‘is the cleft of the rock where Moses stood’.
At the Mountain, the LORD demands of Elijah, ‘Why have you come here?’ [v. 9]; The question implies that Elijah was expected to be elsewhere, that is, in Israel. moreover, the mountain is the Lord’s sanctuary, which no one is to enter uninvited. Elijah replies with a three-fold complaint: 1) the people have rejected God in spite of his efforts; 2) they have killed God’s prophets; and 3) he is the only prophet left.
The LORD calls Elijah out of the cave to stand before him, and passes by Elijah as he did Moses, but not in the same way. In Exodus when the LORD descended on the holy mountain, ‘there were thunders and lightnings … and a very loud trumpet blast’ and the mountain ‘was wrapped in smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire’ [Ex 19.16-19]. Now the signs of the first theophany appear, wind, earthquake, and fire, but the LORD is in none of them. The LORD is never bound by our expectation of how he should appear to us. At last there is ‘a sound of sheer silence’ or, better, ‘a still small sound’ or ‘the whistle of a thin breeze’. At this Elijah came out from the cave, covering his face with his cloak, and the LORD repeated his question, and after Elijah’s answer sends him back to Syria. The reading for Sunday omits the conclusion of the passage (vv. 15b-21, in which he is appointed to declare the LORD’s will.

Psalm 42 and 43
Quemadmodum; Judica me Deus
Although separate psalms in our Bibles, Psalms 42 and 43 are a single poem, as may be seen from the recurrent refrain (42.5, 11; 43.5).
1-4: The psalmist’s love for the temple and God’s presence there. 5 The refrain. 6-10: The psalmist is now sick and far from the temple. 11. The Refrain. 43.1-4: He prays that by his heaking he may be vindicated as a righteous man and enabled to go to Jerusalem. 5. The refrain.
43.3 is probably the main reason this lyric was chosen as a reflection on the first reading.
Psalm 43 is the Preparation for Mass in the traditional western Liturgy.

The Epistle : Galatians 3:23-29
In Galatians 3.19-29, St Paul sets out the true purpose of the Law of Moses: though it could not make people righteous, it revealed God’s will so that they might recognize their transgressions (3.19, 22; see also Romans 3.20, 7.7). here he uses the image of a pedagogue. Since the one guided by the pedagogue is the child of the house, the thought naturally turns to our condition as children of God through Baptism into Christ.
There are extensive notes on this passage in the RCL Commentary. Here we will make only a few notes.
First, the translation of paedagogus as ‘disciplinarian’ in verse 24 while not precisely wrong, misses much of the word’s meaning. (We might ask how this word is meant to be understood: is it disciple iin the sense of instruction—training disciples—or discipline in the sense of correction and punishment.) The word paedagogue originally meant a slave who led the child to school and had the charge of them at home. (For another use of this image, see 1 Corinthians 4.15, where it is translated guide.) It came to be used for a teacher, hence our word pedagogy. The important sense here is not so much that this person disciplines the child, but that his position and trust are temporary. Just as the pedagogue did not teach child but delivered him safely to the teacher, so the law does not justify us but keeps us for Christ, by whom we are justified. Both RSV and NRSV have ‘until Christ came’’ the Authorized Version (‘King James’) has ‘to bring us unto Christ’. It is clear that the literal ‘was our pedagogue into (or in) Christ’ needs some expansion to make much sense in English. The AV seems better to me, giving the sense that the Law was to lead to Christ, not leaving out the sense of instruction but not putting it in the first place.
Second, St Paul speaks of being baptized into Christ (v. 27). The NJBC comments that ‘the phrase’ into Christ ‘is found mainly in the two contexts of belief or baptism in Christ. It pregnantly expresses the movement toward Christ that these initial experiences imply, the beginning of the Christian’s condition in Christ (see 1 Cor 10.2). Torn from one’s original condition (in Adam, 1 Cor 15.22), from one’s natural inclinations (in the flesh, Rom 7.5) and from one’s ethnic background (under the law, 1 Cor 9.20), one is solemnly introduced ‘into Christ’ in faith and baptism. Into Christ introduces, then, the movement of incorporation
Finally in verse 27 Paul says that in Baptism the Christians have ‘clothed themselves with Christ’. He is likely making use of an Old Testament expression for adoption of another’s moral dispositions or outlook. this image is found in other Pauline letters. See Romans 13:1; Col 3.9-10:; Eph 4.22-24.

The Gospel: Luke 8:26-39
The parallels to this passage are Matthew 8.28-34 and Mark 5 1-20, on which Matthew and Luke have both drawn; Luke is very close to Mark, but the differences should be noted. This passage is full of points where our ideas and those of Jesus’ day are very different. The condition which was ascribed to demonic possession can be understood in the terms of psychological illness. J B Caird in his commentary on this passage notes: In the madman of Gerasa we have a typical case of disintegrated personality. All the symptoms described have the note of authenticity: the morbid preoccupation with graves, the abnormal strength, the insensitivity to pain, the refusal to wear clothes, & the multiple & fluctuating self. The man conceived himself to be possessed by a whole regiment of demon; like the country he lived in, he was enemy-occupied territory, and it may well be that his condition arose out of a traumatic experience associated with the Roman occupation. The cure was accompanied by a violent & obstreperous convulsion, which caused a nearby herd of pigs to stampede in disastrous panic.
There are other elements of the story which support this. We perhaps pay little attention to the herd of pigs. But, as Caird points out ‘The presence of pigs is a reminder that Jesus was here in the predominantly Gentile territory of the Decapolis, To the Jew the pig was an unclean animal, and the eating of pork expressly forbidden in the Law (Lev 11.7-8).’ Even more, the pig was associated with Roman power and Roman paganism. According to the NJBC, ‘Roman might was symbolized by a very fecund sow that gave birth to thirty piglets, and by the wild boar.’ The wild boar was also a symbol of the Tenth legion, which was stationed in Syria about that time, Thus, the entry of “legion’ into the swine and their subsequent destruction can be seen as a ‘sign’ of future liberation.
Be that as it may, the main point of this miracle for us is the power of Jesus over all that spiritually and psychologically enslaves men and women.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lectionary Notes

6 JUNE, AD 2010

The Collect and the other propers prayers understand the raising of the dead in today’s readings as delivery from the death of sin.
1 KINGS 17:8-16, (17-24)
Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath
After the reign of Solomon, the kingdom of Israel was divided between the southern realm of Judah under the house of David, and the northern realm of Israel, under various lines of kings. Ahab, king of Israel (874-853 BC), was married to Jezebel, daughter of the King of Sidon in Phoenicia (16.31) and served her god Baal, even building a temple to him. At this time Elijah the Tishbite [17.2] announced to Ahab that the LORD God of Israel would withhold rain from the land. Baal (which means Lord) was worshipped as the god of storms and fertility; by proclaiming a drought Elijah was challenging his worshippers. This challenge reaches its climax in the contezt with the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel [18.21-40] It seems that for some reason this important passage is not in the Sunday readings of the Revised Common Lectionary.
It would be useful to take some time for the whole story of Elijah [1 Kings 17.1-19.21] in one’s personal bible-reading. Other stories of Elijah are found in 1 Kings 18; 19; 21; 2 Kings 1-2. As always I recommend getting a good commentary or at least a well-annotated study Bible.
When he proclaimed the drought, Elijah himself was brought away from the threat of Ahab’s power to the brook Cherith, east of the Jordan, where God has him fed by ravens [17.2-7]. (See By his immediate obedience to the word of the LORD, Elijah shows that he is Lord’s servant. While he is at the brook Cherith, the word of the Lord comes to Elijah again, opening our passage for this Sunday.
2. Zarephath or Sarepta, a town in Phoenicia; it is now called Sarafend.. Mentioned in Luke 4.26 when Jesus referes to this story. See Because it belonged to Sidon, this was recognized as Baal’s country, not the LORD’s. Nonetheless, even there the LORD’s power causes drought and protects those he favours.
18. What have you against me, O man of God? Literally, What is there between me and you, man of God? This idiom is found several times in the Gospels, where it is usually translated more literally: see Mc 1.24, 5.7; Mt 8.29; Lk 4.34, 8.28; Jn 2.4 . The New Jerome Biblical Commentary notes: ‘Verse 18 is obscure but probably means that, having realized that Elijah is a ‘man of God,’ the woman feels her own unworthiness in his presence and understands her son’s death as punishment.’
20-22. According to the NJBC, Elijah’s powerful intercession is ‘a new aspect of the prophet’ and takes the statement that The LORD listened to the voice of Elijah [22] as ‘very like obedience’. It refers to Josh 10.14: incident which also seems to be a case of the Lord obeying a human being. This seems to be an odd way of saying that the Lord answered a prayer, something (I hope) we believe happens from time to time without making God a servant.
21: See Acts 20:9-10.
24. The widow’s final words bring both themes to a new stage: a woman who is presumably a worshipper of Baal confesses the LORD’s decisive power, and acknowledges Elijah’s authority: truly the LORD’s word is in your mouth”.
Lauda, anima mea
This is one of the five Hallelujah Psalms which conclude the Psalter. The word ‘Hallelujah’ means ‘Praise the Lord!’
Note: the verse divisions in the BAS Psalter differ from those in the BCP, and both differ from other versions of the Bible
I Veres 1-2: The psalmist’s personal praise of the Lord; compare 145.1-3.
II Verses 3-6: Human inadequacy is contrasted with the might of God the creator. See also Psalm 90.2-3.
a. Verses 3-4: The inadequacy of human beings.
Prince is a general term for a ruler, not (as it has commonly come to be) the designation of a royal son It is from the Latin princeps, ‘first in order’, ‘foremost’; ‘chief’, ‘leader’.
b. Verses 5-9: The Lord gives help to all who need it.
Who made heaven and earth … who keeps faith forever [6]. The same creative power of God upholds the physical universe and the moral order. Contrast Psalm 82.2-5: because justice is absent, the very foundations of the earth are shaken.
The LORD watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow [9]. This verse ties the psalm closely to the first reading, since the widow at Zarephath as also a foreigner, a stranger. For the obligation of all people not to abuse the defenceless, see also Exodus 22:21-22 and Deuteronomy 10:18. For royal responsibility to protect the alien, the fatherless and the widow, see Jeremiah 22:1-4. [NJBC]
III. Verse 10: The Psalm concludes as it began, with a shout of praise.
In the third century BC, some of the people known as Gauls invaded Macedonia and moved into north central Anatolia (Asia Minor) where they settled. Galatia was a province of the Roman empire in Anatolia (central Turkey nowadays) established by Caesar Augustus which included the original territory of the Galatians as well as other nearby regions east of Phrygia, west of Cappadocia, and south of Bithynia). Paul visited several cities in this area in his first missionary journey (see Acts 16) and later (Acts 18.23). Shortly after his second visit to the Galatian churches, he learned that some agitators were impugning Paul’s authority and claiming that he was not a ture apostle because he did not insist that all the Law of Moses be observed, but ‘watered down’ the requirements of the gospel for the sake of attracting the Gentiles. He wrote this very strong letter to warn the churches in Galatia against this ‘different Gospel’ (Gal 1.6-7).
In his response Paul insists that we become right with God —are justified—by grace through faith in Christ apart from deeds prescribed by the law. This is his earliest exposition of this teaching. The letter to the Galatians has been called ‘the Magna Charta of Christian liberty’ {NOAB].
The letter to the Galattians was perhaps written around AD 54 during Paul’s thord missionary journey, not long after he harrived at Ephesus
We do not read the whole of this letter on Sundays of Year C. Gal 1.1-12 is read on Proper 9 in Year C and 1.12 -24 this Sunday. the other elections are: Gal 2.15-21 on Proper 11; Gal 3.25-29 on Proper 12; Gal 5..1,13-25 on Proper 13; Gal 6 (1-6), 7-16 on Proper 14. An outline of the Letter will be of help in seeing how the passages we read in Church fit into the whole. This outline of the Letter is largely based on the outline in the NJBC. Passages underlined are included (at least in part) in the Sunday readings.
I. Introduction: 1-11
A. Salutation. 1.1-5
B. The Galatian Apostasy . 1.6-11
1. Paul’s Astonishment 6-7
2. Curse 1.8-9
3. Transition 1.10-11
II. Paul’s Vindication of his Apostolate 1.12-2.14
A. Paul’s Gospel not of human origin 1.12-24
B. Paul’s Apostleship recognized in Jersualem 2.1-10
C. Paul’s Gospel Challenged Peter’s Inconsistency at Antioch 2.11-14
III. Paul’s Gospel Set Forth: The Difference between Law and Gospel. 2.15-21
IV. Proof from Scripture and Experience that Salvation is by Faith , not by Law 3.1-4.31

A. First Proof: The Galatians’ Own Experience 3.1-5
B. Second Proof: God’s Promises to Abraham 3.6-26
C. Third Proof: Experience of Christians in Baptism 3.27-29
D. Fourth Proof: Experience of Christians as Children of God 4.1-11
E. Fifth Proof: Experience of the Galatians in their Relations to Paul 4.12-20
F. Sixth Proof: The Allegory of Sarah and Hagar [see Genesis 16} 4.21-31
V. Exhortation 5.1-6.10
A. The nature of Christian Liberty 5.1-26
1. Counsel: Preserve the Freedom that You have in Christ 5.1-12
2. Warning: Walk not according to the Flesh but according to the Spirit 5.13-26
3. Advice: The Right Way to use Christian Freedom 6.1-10
VI. Ending 6.11-18

In the passage read this Sunday, St Paul answers those who claim he is not a real apostle.] by setting out the historic grounds of his call.
12. Through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul refers to Christ’s appearance to him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9.1-9). See also verses 1 and 15-17.
13. See Philippians 3:4-6. For Paul as persecutor, see 1 Corinthians 15:9; Acts 9:1-2; 22:4-5, 9-11. The NOAB notes that the word Church may signify 1. the total number of believers in the world, 2.the believers in a particular region (see v. 2), or 3. to those in one locality, whether gathered for worship and instruction, engaged in mission, or scattered by persecution.
15. before I was born , literally, from my mother’s womb. We find this description of the prophet’s call in the Old Testament: see Jeremiah 1:5 and Isaiah 49:1.
17-24: the details here seem to disagree with the account given by Luke in the Book of Acts (Acts 9.19-end). Here we need to seek out several commentaries and studies of St Paul’s life.

The Widow’s Son of Nain raised from the dead.
or: God’s Prophet: Jesus has compassion on a widow [NJBC]
This story is only in Luke. It prepares for 7:20-22 and proclaims that the God Jesus preaches liberates those who are in death’s prison [NJBC].
11. Nain: is identified with Na’in or Nein, a village of Galilee, 14 kilometers (9 miles) south of Nazareth, 40 kilometres (25 miles) southwest of Capernaum. The name means ‘Charming’ in Hebrew. Crusaders built a church there to commemorate the site of the miracle, which was rebuilt by the Fransciscans. For pictures of Nain, see The incident in this reading occurs ‘soon after’ the healing of the centurion’s slave at Capernaum (7.1-10).
12. As Jesus and his disciples come near the gates of Nain, with a large crowd which has either followed him from Capernaum or gathered to him as he traveled, they meet a funeral procession coming out of the town. It is a young man, only son of a widow. In those days the fate of a widow who lost her only son wa grim, for she would have had no legal inheritance and would be dependent on charity. See Deut 26.12, 27.19.
13. Jesus’ compassion for the widow is here depicted as a deep visceral response. The verb ἐσπλαγχνίσθη (esplanchnisthē) is from from σπλαγχνον (splanchnon), which means the entrails, more or less; it used to be translated “bowels” (the root meaning might in fact be “spleen”). It was used in much the same way we use the word heart: the ancients tended to think of the abdomen as the seat of the emotions. This isn’t strange: we know what it is to feel something “in the pit of 0ne’s stomach” So when we read this passage and picture Jesus looking on the afflicted widow, we should imagine the scene quite literally hitting him in the guts. And this is a completely human feeling. We might be happier to say “he was gripped in his heart concerning them.” Such a feeling is a declaration oif the Incarnation, of Christ’s true humanity.
14. His compassion was so deep that it overrode the demands of the Law. According to Numbers 19.11, anyone ‘who touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean seven days’ (see also 19.16, Leviticus 21.1-15).
15. The description here is very reminiscent of the account of the Widow’s son of Zarephath, even to the use of the same words, ‘gave him to his mother.’
16. ‘The audience recalls the mighty deeds of Elijah and declares that Jesus is a great prophet. The NJBC distinguishes three types of passage in which the theme is Jesus as prophet. (Not all the passages cited there are noted here.)
i. Jesus acts like a prophet but is not actually called a prophet. See 9.22-23, 43b-45.
ii. Jesus used the title ‘prophet’ for himself. See 4.24; 13.33.
iii The title is used to describe Jesus’ power. See 7.16, 39; 9.8-9, 19.

That Luke alone records the raising of the widow’s son at Nain, while John alone records the raising of Lazarus (Chapter 11), but Mark, followed by Matthew, record neither event raises questions. As William Temple said of the raising of Lazarus, the question for the critics is not ‘Could it have happened?’ but ‘If it happened, how did it come about that Mark omitted it?’
This is greater than we can treat in these notes. perhaps it will be enough to quote a point from the commentator G. B Caird: ‘The resuscitation of the dead is as well attested as any of the other miracles of Jesus. Luke drew this story from his private source L, the story of Jairus’ daughter from Mark, and from Q a saying of Jesus which includes the raising of the dead among the achievements of the ministry (7.22). There is, of course, mp way of proving to the satisfaction of a sceptic that the people concerned were in fact dead, and not just in a cataleptic trance which Jesus was able to recognize; but there can be no doubt about the conviction of the early Church that Jesus had reclaimed to life those whom others had declared dead.’ [Pelican Commentary on St Luke].