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Roger Karban

Ordained in Rome in 1964, Roger R. Karban is a priest of the Diocese of Belleville with scholarly expertise in the Sacred Scriptures. He received a Licentiate in Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and did his doctoral studies in Scripture at St. Louis University.

Karban has been the chair of religion departments at Mater Dei and Gibault Catholic High Schools; director of the diocesan diaconate program and is currently the administrator of Our Lady of Good Council Parish, Renault, IL. A part-time faculty member of St. Louis University and Southwestern Illinois College where he teaches the Bible as literature, Karban also teaches adult weekly scripture classes in Belleville, Breese, Carbondale and Lebanon, IL. With the vision of Vatican II, Karban presents workshops, not only in the diocese, but throughout the country.

 

 

Roger's Essays

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01/08/2017

JANUARY 8TH, 2017: EPIPHANY OF THE CHRIST

Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12

The future rarely turns out the way we plan it. This is especially true with Jewish expectations of the Messiah. Years ago, the late Raymond Brown remarked in one of our diocesan clergy conferences that the Messiah 1st century CE Jews were expecting has yet to come. “Jesus of Nazareth was not that Messiah.”

Many Christians think the authors of the Hebrew Scriptures had just one task: to foretell the coming of Jesus as Messiah. They overlook the fact that scholars tell us biblical concepts of the Messiah varied according to the peoples' needs in the day and age in which the various authors wrote. Messianic predictions, for instance, in 9th century BC Israel were quite different from those in the 6th century. Over the centuries the Chosen People went from presuming one of their next kings would be the Messiah to believing Yahweh would eventually send just one non-royal, unique individual to fill that role.

Since Rome occupied Palestine during Jesus' historical ministry, most Jews were convinced God would send a military Messiah who would throw the foreigners out. In the first third of the 1st century, pious Israelites were expecting the epiphany – the public “coming out” – of that kind of savior. For most, the biblical Jesus' epiphany as the Christ (the Messiah) was a total surprise.

As we hear in today's Third-Isaiah reading, there always was hope in Judaism that Gentiles would eventually “gather and come” to Israel in ways that would enrich the country and its people. “. . . The riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.” Many even believed that besides “bearing gold and frankincense,” these non-Jews would also proclaim “the praises of Yahweh.” In other words, they'd actually convert to Judaism.

No Jew would object to their anticipated Messiah bringing Gentiles “into the fold.” The main problem they encountered with Jesus of Nazareth revolved around some of his followers bringing these Gentiles into their faith communities without first converting them to Judaism. The Pauline disciple responsible for the letter to the Ephesians succinctly states this “heretical” belief. “. . . Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” This certainly wouldn't be the teaching of the Christ whom the vast majority of Jews were expecting.

That seems to be one of the reasons Matthew, writing for a Jewish-Christian community, includes the story of the magi. Throughout his gospel he brings up instances in which non-Jews are better at living the faith of Jesus than Jews. Nowhere is this more sharply demonstrated at the beginning of Jesus' life than having not just Gentiles, but Gentile astrologers travel hundreds of miles “to do homage to the newborn king of the Jews,” while Herod, the Jew, refuses to go the few miles between Jerusalem and Bethlehem to even check on the accuracy of biblical prophecies about the Messiah's birth.

Yet perhaps the strongest drawback to wide acceptance of Jesus as Messiah is contained in one small addition Matthew makes to Third-Isaiah's Gentile gift list. Besides gold and frankincense, the magi also bring myrrh. The late Dr. Irvin Arkin once asked, “How would you feel if someone gave you a bottle of embalming fluid as a birthday gift?” At the time of Jesus, myrrh was normally used to anoint dead bodies before they were entombed or buried.

Even in this glorious epiphany event, Matthew reminds his readers that if they accept Jesus as Messiah, they're also accepting their responsibility to suffer and die with him. You don't have to be Jewish to have problems with the epiphany of that kind of Messiah.

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


01/15/2017

JANUARY 15TH, 2017: SECOND SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Isaiah 49:3, 5-6; I Corinthians 1:1-3; Matthew 1:29-34

I presume Scripture scholars didn't choose our liturgical readings. If they did, there's no way the most important verse of today's first reading would have been left out.

This second song of Deutero-Isaiah's suffering servant revolves around his belief that he's totally failed as Yahweh's prophet. Immediately after God assures him, “You are my servant through whom I show my glory,” Deutero-Isaiah shakes his head and (in the omitted verse) says, “. . . I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength.” In other words, “How could I have shown your glory when I screwed up the only ministry you gave me?” There's no deeper mystery in all of Scripture. God's actually held in higher esteem when we fail, not when we succeed.

Not only that, but our failures lead God to expand our God-given work, not decrease it. “It is too little,” Yahweh tells the prophet, “for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Instead of just proclaiming God's word to Jews, now Deutero-Isaiah will proclaim it to every person on the face of this planet.

Though as Christians we believe the risen Jesus shares his/her ministry with every disciple, none of us can be certain about the limits of that ministry. In some sense, that ministry is always in flux, it never stays the same. Not only Deutero-Isaiah, but also Paul of Tarsus provides us with an example of a mobile ministry.

Originally biblical followers of Jesus were divided into three categories. A “disciple” was anyone committed to carrying out Jesus' message and lifestyle. An “apostle,” a disciple called to go out on a special, specific ministry – like the “72” in the Synoptic gospels. The “twelve,” a group of apostles who frequently accompany the historical Jesus on his itinerant preaching trips. Membership in the twelve could change, but always had to be twelve to symbolize Israel's twelve tribes: among other things, an outward sign Jesus was directing his reform to all Jews, not just to a couple of tribes. Sadly, Luke is the one who confuses the terminology by employing the now-familiar phrase the “twelve apostles.”

Paul wrote I Corinthians more than 25 years before Luke wrote his gospel. So when in today's second reading he calls himself “an apostle of Christ Jesus” we presume he's simply saying the risen Jesus set him aside for a special ministry, not that he's one of the twelve. And because biblical “call narratives” were composed long after the original event, we also presume the details of that ministry weren't outlined the instant he felt called. That his ministry would eventually revolve around evangelizing non-Jews probably didn't occur to him until long after he sensed he had an apostolic call. As we see in Acts, he first tried to proclaim the faith to Jews in synagogues, failed and only then turned to Gentiles.

Parallel things can be said about John the Baptizer. It's one thing for Matthew, a Christian author writing almost 50 years after John's martyrdom, to label this wilderness prophet Jesus' precursor, it's a totally other thing to surface what the historical John thought of himself and his failed ministry. Today the vast majority of scholars agree the coming of Jesus as such played no part in his preaching.

All these biblical failures force each of us to examine our own lives and the callings we've received. Have we ignored other callings from the risen Jesus simply because we somehow screwed up past ones?

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


01/22/2017

JANUARY 22ND, 2017: THIRD SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Isaiah 8:23-9:3; I Corinthians 1:10-13, 17; Matthew 4:12-23

Throughout my early life, I was taught today's gospel pericope narrates Jesus' call to his first four priests. Nothing could be further from the theology Matthew's trying to convey. When Matthew composed his gospel – in the mid to late 70s – the priesthood as we know it didn't exist. All gospel “calls” by Jesus are simply calls to be a Christian: another Christ. They certainly aren't directed to a specific group of people who exercise one particular ministry in the community. On the contrary, they're addressed to every one of the evangelists' original readers. If we claim to be Christians, they're directed to us. That's why it's essential to look carefully at each element of today's call.

First, these initial disciples are called to follow a person, not an institution with particular sets of rules or regulations or even some philosophic concepts. And they have no idea where this person's leading them. They're just to “come after” him, wherever and whatever that entails. All they know is that people, not fish, will now be the most important element in their lives.

There's no delay, no looking back. They immediately leave their boats, nets, even their father, and “follow him.” Jesus' call marks a new beginning of their lives. Their response is the concrete “repentance” Jesus demands of all his followers: a total change of their value systems. Only those who achieve such a “metanoia” will eventually experience the “kingdom of heaven” - God working effectively - around and among them.

One way Paul of Tarsus, writing almost 20 years before Matthew, experienced God in his daily life was by the oneness of the Christian community. This seems to be why he's so disturbed by what's happening in the Corinthian church. Its members don't appear to be disturbed at all by the “divisions” among them. They've actually created factions based on who was baptized by whom. The claim “I belong to Christ” seems to be Paul's frustrated reminder that everyone was baptized into Christ, not into Paul or Cephas. And if they were baptized into Christ, they were baptized into his death; a death they're expected to imitate by becoming one community, freed of all divisions. The Apostle suspects he's failed at his primary calling - being a preacher of the gospel – since so many in Corinth have, by their separatist actions, “emptied” the cross of Christ of its meaning.

Though Isaiah seems to be referring to a pull-back of invading 8th century BCE Assyrian troops when he mentions a “great light” breaking into what's been a “land of gloom,” we can all identify with his light/darkness imagery. We often find ourselves looking for any rays of light in this dark world we inhabit. Paul had found one of those light rays in the Corinthian Christian community he evangelized. Now he fears the gloom has returned.

Perhaps we've become so accustomed to the division between clergy and laity which the eventual development of the priesthood created in the church that we rarely reflect on what our Christian communities would be like without that stratification. Growing up as a Catholic boy, I presumed the only “call” worthwhile receiving was the call to be a priest. If I didn't get one of those, then, by default, I guess Christ was calling me to be a married layman.

Back in the 60s and 70s I'd ask students in my high school religion classes if they felt they were inferior members of the church because they weren't priests. Almost all of them answered, “Yes!” I hope that's changed somewhat today. If it hasn't, either we're not listening carefully to Matthew or Paul, or we've been hearing lousy homilies.

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


01/29/2017

JANUARY 29TH, 2017: FOURTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13; I Corinthians 1:26-31; Matthew 5:1-12a

I presume one of the most difficult things the historical Jesus encountered as an itinerant preacher was simply to get people to “try it:” to actually carry out the unique concepts he was sharing; to weave these new behavior patterns into their daily lives. Matthew has placed many (but not all) of these concepts in his well-known Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7). For the next four weekends we're going to be hearing some of Jesus' “unconventional” ways of relating to others.

I once paraphrased several of these concepts and read them to a junior boys' religion class, asking just two questions: “Who said this?” and “What do you think about what he or she said?” Though at that point they had at least 10 years of Catholic religious education, not one student could tell me who taught the morality Matthew included in his Sermon on the Mount!

One young man finally raised his hand and said, “I don't know who said those things, but whoever it was must have been crazy!” Most people find it quite difficult to both appreciate and imitate the faith of Jesus.

That seems to be why Paul of Tarsus not only was amazed that some Corinthians could do both, but it also forced him to reflect on the caliber of people who actually pulled this off. “Not many of you,” he writes, “were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.” This certainly ran counter to his expectations.

There could only be one reason for these most unlikely people to accept and imitate Jesus' dying and rising: God. Who else would have chosen “the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something?” As the historical Jesus had promised, the Apostle eventually discovered God at work in these “weak, foolish” individuals.

Paul's experience ran parallel to that of the classic Hebrew prophets like Zephaniah. Like all those unique individuals who spoke in Yahweh's name, Zephaniah had to deal with the disappointment that only a handful of Israelites actually listened to and carried out their words. Only this “poor, lowly remnant” dared “take refuge” in Yahweh. The vast majority of the prophet's audience looked in other directions for the security they needed.

Yet as Jesus' earliest followers also discovered, once someone commits himself or herself to relating to God and one another in a totally unselfish way, their whole lives turn upside down. That seems to be why Matthew chose to begin, not end his Sermon on the Mount with the “Beatitudes.” Though chronologically such a reflection usually happens at the end, not the beginning of our faith experience, it gives his readers something to look forward to.

Such things as poverty and mourning take on a deeper meaning. Seeking for righteousness – creating life-giving relationships with one another – gives us more satisfaction than anything else we'll achieve in our lives. Being mercy-giving and peace-creating people turn us into the individuals God expects us to be.

But on the other hand, such a constant quest for righteousness will certainly bring problems and persecution. Many of our friends will believe we're also “crazy.” Though we don't enjoy such painful encounters, never should they weaken our determination to work at becoming other Christs. It's the one thing that brings real blessedness – real satisfaction – to our otherwise humdrum lives.

The late Karl Rahner once remarked that once Christians become more than 20 per cent of the population, the faith becomes so watered down that it no longer has an effect on the world around us. In God's plan, only an “insane” remnant can actually change things.

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


02/05/2017

FEBRUARY 5TH, 2017: FIFTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Isaiah 58:7-10; I Corinthians 2:1-5; Matthew 5:13-16

Long before 1624, when John Donne penned the famous line “No man is an island,” our sacred authors were convinced of the truth of that statement. They believed each of our lives inevitably affects the lives – for good or bad – of the people around us.

This certainly is true of the Hebrew prophets. Once we eradicate the false idea that they were mainly concerned with predicting the coming of Jesus and concentrate on their actual messages, their emphasis on creating life-giving relationships becomes embarrassingly evident. Today's Third-Isaiah pericope provides us with a classic example.

Though this particular prophet is deeply committed to convincing the recently freed Babylonian captives to return to the Promised Land and rebuild Jerusalem, he never lets his people forget what they should be doing in the meantime. Whether they're living in one of the Babylonian suburbs or in downtown Jerusalem, they're to “share their bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked . . . and not turn their backs on their own.” In other words, their lives should make a positive difference in other peoples' lives.

One of the most interesting facets of this unnamed prophet's theology is his belief that many of our personal problems would disappear if we were more concerned with helping others get rid of their problems. “If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech;” he proclaims, “if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday.”

Today's gospel passages carry more of an impact when we remember that Matthew positions it at the beginning of his Sermon on the Mount – immediately after the Beatitudes. He's obviously concerned that his readers appreciate not only how the unique behavior which Jesus demands of them will change their lives, but will also change the lives of those who aren't his followers. “You are the salt of the earth . . . a city set on a mountain,” Matthew's Jesus reminds his followers. “No one lights a lamp, then puts it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others . . . .”

We who follow Jesus are responsible for letting others see that “in can be done:” that people can actually imitate Jesus in their daily lives. If we don't carry through on the morality he taught and lived, his ideals remain just pie in the sky, something no one would ever dare integrate into how they lived their lives.

After reading the Sermon on the Mount, we might beg off carrying it out because we're either not strong enough to follow through on how Jesus expects us to relate to others, or we're too weak to put up with the static which will come our way if we actually try to do so. But in either case, Paul beats us to the punch.

In some sense, the Apostle tells his Corinthian community that if he can do it, anyone can do it. He certainly didn't talk any one of them into becoming a Christian. He didn't have the ability to do so. He could zero in on Jesus' weakness by simply pointing to his own weakness. The only way he was able to make Jesus' morality his morality was to totally give himself over to the risen Jesus, and let him/her work through him.

Perhaps one of the most important lines in Scripture is Paul's admission that living his faith doesn't depend on his own power, but on the “power of God” working through him.

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


02/12/2017

FEBRUARY 12TH, 2017: SIXTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Sirach 15:15-20; I Corinthians 2:6-10; Matthew 5:17-37

It's clear from various parts of the Christian Scriptures that one of the main reasons people originally began to imitate Jesus' dying and rising was that it gave them a freedom they'd never before experienced.

Psychologists and psychiatrists frequently remind us that, on any given day, we rarely do anything which is totally free. Most of our actions – even our “religious” actions - are simply habitual, or performed either because we're afraid of the consequences of doing the opposite, or because we want to maintain an image of ourselves which we've cultivated over the years. They're far from being free.

But such freedom didn't begin with Christianity. At least two centuries before Jesus' birth, the author of Sirach reminded his readers that their Jewish faith revolves around making free choices. “God has set before us,” he writes, “fire and water . . . life and death, good and evil, whatever we choose shall be given us.” We have at least some control over our lives.

It's important to remember that when Sirach originally penned these words about choice, he had no concept of an afterlife as we have today. The “life” he expected his readers to choose wasn't an eternal life in heaven; it was a “new and improved” life right here and now. Our earthly lives will become fulfilled and meaningful only if we make the choices Yahweh expects and wants us to make.

Yet, as Paul reminds his Corinthian community, it isn't the easiest thing in the world to find out what God really wants us to do. Obviously not everyone who claims to know God's mind actually knows it. According to the Apostle, the “rulers of this age” certainly have no inkling of God's will. Unlike the risen Jesus, they're leading us away, not toward God's “mysterious, hidden wisdom.” That's why it's essential for other Christs to have Jesus' Spirit. His Spirit alone makes our mind one with God's mind, leading us to look at everyone and everything around us from a unique perspective – God's perspective.

Matthew is dealing with a community which, as Jews, believed they understood God's mind long before they came in contact with Jesus. But that encounter turned everything upside down. That seems to be behind Jesus' assurance, “I have come not to abolish but to fulfill the law and the prophets.” There was nothing wrong with what they did before; Jesus is simply taking them to a new level. He's concerned not with the afterlife, but with the here and now of entering “the kingdom of heaven:” of experiencing God working effectively in their daily, humdrum lives. To pull that off they have to freely choose to go beyond the 613 Laws of Moses.

When Matthew's Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said . . . ,” he's quoting one of those covenant regulations. But in each case, he takes his followers beyond the usual interpretation of that particular regulation, giving it a new meaning, one that surpasses the “righteousness” of even those “super-Jews:” the scribes and Pharisees. His disciples, for instance, are not only to avoid physical murder, they're to renounce even the psychological murder of someone that comes from verbally abusing them.

Modern moral theologians often remind us that God will eventually judge us only on the things we freely chose to do. Whatever we did out of force or fear – like going to Mass on Sunday because our parents gave us no other choice – will play no role in our eternal future. The historical (and risen) Jesus certainly wants us to make free choices, choices which will not only get us into heaven one day, but will even now enable us to experience the heaven that's already around us.

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


02/19/2017

FEBRUARY 19TH, 2017: SEVENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18; I Corinthians 3:16-23; Matthew 5:38-48

That's why the Leviticus author must have deeply disturbed his readers when he not only reminds them that Yahweh's holy, but, through Moses, also tells them to imitate that holiness. They're to accomplish this not by dressing different from everyone else, but by living lives that are other from people around them, lives based on a unique value system. Against common wisdom and practice, they're to “take no revenge, cherish no grudges,” and, unbelievably, “love their neighbors as themselves.”

Matthew's Jesus simply points out a few implications of such holiness in today's gospel pericope. His followers are not only expected to “turn the other cheek” when someone strikes them, they're even required to “offer no resistance to one who is evil.” He consistently wants them to show “hesed” to everyone.

Biblical hesed refers to what an individual does for someone which goes beyond what he or she has a right to expect. It's a way of exercising freedom in situations in which one's freedom has been taken away. For instance, though someone might have a right to “go to law with you over your tunic,” handing over your cloak to that person is a totally free act. In the same way, going two miles instead of one mile for someone forcing you to do so, is also a free action. There's “no charge” for that second mile.

As a good Jew, Matthew's Jesus is convinced that one way we demonstrate our holiness is by freely doing things which we have no responsibility or obligation to do. A significant part of our otherness is that we're free even in situations in which others have surrendered their freedom. Just as our “perfect” God freely deals with people, so do we. Those who want to be like God are expected to act like God.

It's significant to recall that even though main-stream Jews had huge difficulties with the Roman destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 CE, Christian Jews didn't seem to take its demise on the same level. We have to thank Paul for their reaction.

Though the Apostle was martyred about 10 years before the Roman army leveled Jerusalem, the theology he develops in today's I Corinthians passage certainly provided them with a unique perspective from which to view that national and religious disaster. No longer was the Jerusalem temple the only place where Jesus' Jewish disciples could encounter God. “Do you not know,” Paul asks his Corinthian readers, “that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Then he reminds them of the obvious: “The temple of God, which you are, is holy.”

If acting like everyone else is the norm of wisdom, it's no wonder, Paul argues, that people judge other Christs to be fools.

We know from movies like Jeremiah Johnson that many Native American tribes gave their mentally ill members a free pass, interpreting their unconventional actions as signs they were close to their gods, who they logically reasoned would act differently from themselves.

I wonder how many of our friends and relatives are just as generous in judging our holy actions?

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222


02/26/2017

FEBRUARY 26TH, 2017: EIGHTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

Isaiah 49:14-15; I Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34

I was part of a prison retreat team some years ago, when I noticed a handwritten poster on one of the conference room's walls. It carried a simple message: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I, God, will never forget you.” One of the residents had obviously been deeply moved by today's Deutero-Isaiah passage.

This unnamed 6th century BCE prophet confronted many difficulties during his Babylonian ministry. One of the most serious revolved around the captives' belief they'd been deserted by Yahweh. They had good reason to come to that conclusion: they and their families had been in Babylon for over 50 years. Any hope of returning to Israel had disappeared years ago. Besides, at that point in salvation history, most Jews believed Yahweh – like all other gods – was territorial. He was God only in Israel. Take one step across the country's border and you had to deal with another country's gods and goddesses. Why trust a God who was helpless in Babylon?

But since Deutero-Isaiah was a proponent of the novel theology that Yahweh was the one and only God, he was certain Yahweh was just as powerful in downtown Babylon as he was in downtown Jerusalem. He was convinced Yahweh was more one with the captive Israelites languishing in a foreign land than a mother with the child at her breast.

Five hundred years later, Jesus of Nazareth confronted a similar problem. As we know from Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, he demanded some radical morality from his followers. They were to treat others in completely unique forgiving and loving ways. Anyone who dared follow his radical lead logically feared God would leave them in the lurch. After they generously gave everything of themselves to those around them, what would happen to them? That seems to be why Matthew's Jesus spends so much time assuring them of God's care and concern.

He tries to convince them not to worry about what they'll eat, drink or wear. They're not to fudge on their imitation of him. “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” In other words, when you begin to notice God acting effectively in your lives, you'll also begin to notice God taking care of those lives. “Don't worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” Commit yourself to living day by day.

Paul takes us even deeper into God's care. In today's I Corinthians passage he reflects on questions about his own ministry, not certain whether he's failed or succeeded in what the risen Jesus has called him to do. As a “steward of the ministries of God,” he can only keep trying to be trustworthy in carrying out his mission. He constantly works at truthfully sharing God's plan with those around him, no matter the results or consequences.

The Apostle doesn't seem to be losing any sleep at night, second-guessing what he's done or hasn't done. He's convinced only the risen Jesus can make such a judgment, and he/she's not expected to do that until the Parousia.

I presume one of the reasons Paul doesn't worry about success or failure is because, as he once told the Galatians, he's experienced the risen Jesus. And that encounter originally took place while he was still a sinner – a persecutor of Jesus' disciples. If the risen Jesus was caring for him while he was in that state, then he/she must be near to and concerned for him and all of us on a level that goes far beyond even the love of our parents.

COPYRIGHT 2017 - ROGER VERMALEN KARBAN

This essay comes to you from FOSIL, The Faithful of Southern Illinois, http://www.fosilonline.com.
Email: info@fosilonline.com, or write FOSIL, P.O. Box 31, Belleville, IL, 62222



Archives in PDF format:
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Each archive file has two articles with the most recent at the bottom.

2017 Essays
February 19 & 26, 2017
February 5 & 12, 2017
January 22 & 29, 2017
January 8 & 15, 2017


2016 Essays

December 25, 2016, & January 1, 2017
December 11 & 18, 2016
November 27 & December 4, 2016
November 13 & 20, 2016
October 30 & November 6, 2016
October 16 & 23, 2016
October 2 & 9, 2016
September 18 & 25, 2016
September 4 & 11, 2016
August 21 & 28, 2016
August 7 & 14, 2016
July 24 & 31, 2016
July 10 & 17, 2016
June 26 and July 3, 2016
Jun 12 & June 19, 2016
May 29 & June 5, 2016
May 15 & May 22, 2016
May 5 & May 8, 2016
April 24 & May 1, 2016
April 10 & April 17, 2016
March 27 and April 3, 2016
March 24 & 26, 2016
March 13 & 20, 2016
February 28 and March 6, 2016
February 14 and 21, 2016
January 31 and February 7, 2016
January 17 and 24, 2016
January 3 and 10, 2016


2015 Essays
December 25 and 27, 2015
December 13, 20 and 25, 2015
November 29 and December 6, 2015
November 15 and 22, 2015
November 1 and 8, 2015
October 18 and 25, 2015
October 4 and 11, 2015
September 20 and 27, 2015
September 6 and 13, 2015
August 23 and 30, 2015
August 9 and 16, 2015
July 26 and August 2, 2015
July 12 and 19, 2015
June 28 and July 5, 2015
June 14 and 21, 2015
May 31 and June 7, 2015
May 17 and 24, 2015
May 10 and May 14 or 17, 2015
April 26 and May 3, 2015
April 12 and 19, 2015
April 4 and 5, 2015
March 29 and April 2, 2015
March 15 and 22, 2015
March 1 and 8, 2015
February 15 and 22, 2015
February 1 and 8, 2015
January 18 and 25, 2015
January 4 and 11, 2015

2014 Essays
December 25 & 28, 2014
December 14 & 21, 2014
November 30 & December 7, 2014
November 16 & 23, 2014
November 2 and 9, 2014
October 19 & 26, 2014
October 5 & 12, 2014
September 21 & 28, 2014
September 7 & 14, 2014
August 24 and 31, 2014
August 10 and 17, 2014
July 27 and August 3, 2014
July 13 and July 20, 2014
June 29 and July 6, 2014
June 15 and June 22, 2014
June 1 and June 8, 2014
May 25 and May 29, 2014
May 11 and May 18, 2014
April 27 and May 4, 2014
April 19 & 20, 2014
April 13 & 17, 2014
March 30 & April 6, 2014
March 16 & 23, 2014
March 2 & 9, 2014
February 16 & 23, 2014
February 2 & 9, 2014
January 19 & 26, 2014
January 5 & 12, 2014

2013 Essays
December 25 & 29, 2013
December 15 & 22, 2013
December 1 & 8, 2013
November 17 & 24, 2013
November 3 & 10, 2013
October 20 and 27, 2013
October 6 and 13, 2013
September 22 and 29, 2013
September 8 and 15, 2013
August 25 and September 1, 2013
August 11 and 18, 2013
July 28 and August 4, 2013
July 14 and 21, 2013
June 30 and July 7, 2013
Jun 16 & 23, 2013
Jun 2 & 9, 2013
May 19 & 26, 2013
May 9 & 12, 2013
April 28 and May 5, 2013
April 14 and 21, 2013
March 30 and April 7, 2013
March 24 and 28, 2013
March 10 and 17, 2013
February 24 and March 3, 2013
February 10 and 17, 2013
January 27 and February 3, 2013
January 13 and 20, 2013
December 30, 2012, and January 6, 2013

2012 Essays
December 23 & 25, 2012
December 9 & 16, 2012
November 25 and December 2, 2012
November 11 and 18, 2012
October 28 and November 4, 2012
October 14 and October 21, 2012
September 30 and October 7, 2012
September 16 and September 23, 2012
September 2 and September 9, 2012
August 19 and August 26, 2012
August 5 and August 12, 2012
July 22 and July 29, 2012
July 8 and July 15, 2012
June 24 and July 1, 2012
June 10 and 17, 2012
May 27 and June 3, 2012
May 17 and May 20, 2012
May 6 and May 13, 2012
April 22 and April 29, 2012
April 7 (Easter Vigil) and April 15, 2012
March 25 and April 1, 2012
March 11 and March 18, 2012
February 26 and March 4, 2012
February 12 and February 19, 2012
January 29 and February 5, 2012
January 15 and January 22, 2012
January 1 and January 8, 2012

2011 Essays
December 18 and December 25, 2011
December 4 and December 11, 2011
November 20 and November 27, 2011
November 6 and November 13, 2011
October 23 and October 30, 2011
October 9 and October 16, 2011
September 25 and October 2, 2011
September 18, 2011
September 4, 2011
August 21, 2011
August 07, 2011
July 24, 2011
July 10, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 12, 2011
June 6, 2011
May 22, 2011
May 5, 2011
April 10, 2011
May 8th, 2011
April 24, 2011
April 3, 2011
March 20, 2011
March 6, 2011
February 20, 2011
February 6, 2011
January 30, 2011
January 16, 2011
January 2, 2011

2010 Essays
December 25, 2010
December 10, 2010
November 28, 2010
November 14, 2010

 

 

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