GOSPEL, FIRST READING & PSALM TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):
...but there's a grain of truth in that, in that we see once you hit chapter 8 in Mark's gospel, Jesus has his eyes firmly set on Jerusalem and on his passion and on his death, and in the lectionary the church kind of follows that movement by focusing on these moments of the passion predictions. So in accompanying that, the church gives us Psalm 54, which is attributed to David and it's actually set in the heading of the Psalm, it says, “A Maskil of David, when the Ziphites went and told Saul, 'David is hiding among us.' So this is a song that is actually set when David, the anointed one, the Messiah, the king, was being pursued, he was being persecuted by King Saul. So the psalmist says this, I’ll just read the first couple of verses here:
Save me, O God, by thy name,
and vindicate me by thy might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
give ear to the words of my mouth.
For insolent men have risen against me,
ruthless men seek my life;
they do not set God before them. [Selah]
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life.
He will requite my enemies with evil;
in thy faithfulness put an end to them.
And then look what the psalmist says here:
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to thee;
I will give thanks to thy name, O LORD, for it is good.
So what's going on here? It's fascinating, in the context of the Psalm, David is being persecuted, right, unto death but his response to the persecution is two-fold. It’s not that he trusts God, it’s that he also offers a sacrifice of Thanksgiving even in the midst of his suffering, even in the midst of being persecuted, even in the midst of being attacked and having attempts on his life being made by Saul and his men. So what that shows us is a kind of prefiguration of Christ, that when Christ is on the cusp of his passion and death, right, in Mark 14, the night of the Last Supper, what is he going to do? He’s going to institute the Eucharist, and what does Eucharist mean in Greek? Thanksgiving. So I don't know about you but if I was about to be betrayed, falsely accused, whipped, scourged, put to death on a cross, my first reaction, my natural reaction, is not going to be to give thanks, it’s going to be fear, it’s going to be terror, it’s going to be horror. And yet Christ, like David before him, trusts in his father and so he's going to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, precisely as an act of trust. He's giving thanks in advance for the fact that although he's going to suffer, God will deliver him in the resurrection on the third day.
SECOND READING TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):
Now I can’t help when I hear these words to think about the Lord’s Prayer. Because if you look at the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father, of which there are several echoes throughout the letter of James, James is one of the letters of the New Testament that scholars have shown that has some of the most explicit and also most quantitatively highest number of allusions to the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, of course the Lord’s Prayer is one of the central elements of the Sermon on the Mount and there in the Sermon on the Mount, in the Lord’s Prayer think about the kinds of things that Jesus teaches his disciples to pray for. They don’t begin by praying and saying, “I want this, I want that, I’d like this, I’d like that.” They begin first of all by desiring the glory of God. “Our Father, who art in heaven…” Number one: let your name be hallowed. Number two: let your will be done. Let your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. So the first thing we do is begin by praying for the glory of God. That’s not the natural inclination of human beings. We tend to pray first for things that we want, not for the glorification of God, but that’s the way Jesus teaches the disciples to pray.
For full access subscribe here >