Category Archives: Religion

Kerygma – parable 8: Hell

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INTRODUCTION

Last Sunday we read uke 16,19-31 (Italian version, See English version below) about Hell. Jesus tells as I see it a parable about Hell in a rather funny way. This parable is easy to understand. But the thought came up in me, is there a Hell really? 

Is Hell like a described it in my conclusion  in a post from March 24?

INDEX

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A parable

This Luke 16 version is copied from www.catholic.org:

19 ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. 20 And at his gate there used to lie a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to fill himself with what fell from the rich man’s table. Even dogs came and licked his sores.

This rich men probably never helped Lazarus.

22 Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels into Abraham’s embrace. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 ‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his embrace. 

24 So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.” 

This is a rather funny but very strong description.

25 Abraham said, “My son, remember that during your life you had your fill of good things, just as Lazarus his fill of bad. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. 26 But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to prevent those who want to cross from our side to yours or from your side to ours.” 

As Lazarus is not allowed to enter Hell the rich man said instead

27  “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28 since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” 29 Abraham said, “They have Moses and the prophets, let them listen to them.” 30 The  rich man replied, “Ah no, father Abraham, but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” 31 Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”

This part describes the known need of humans to see Miracles to convert.  If dead could show up and talk with humans there would be people maybe changing behaviour. But the Prophets have spoken.

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The message

 

The message is clear. There is no way open back from life after death.  We should use our ears and listen to the message given to us by the Prophets.

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conclusion

I still wonder, is there a Hell with barbecue of humans? I think it is rather a metaphore and a warning for people who can not abandon their behaviour or  see no reason to do good in their lives.

I stick to my description of Hell like I described it in my conclusion  in a post from March 24.

In our life on Earth, doing bad things,  we open  Hell in our next.

But but, we can never be sure.

Kerygma – parable 7 – the unrighteous clever administrator

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INTRODUCTION

Today we read the parable about the intelligent but dishonest administrator in ( Luke 16:1-13 ) it is about how we administrate our own lives and the life of our community.

I have had some dificulties to understand this parable. What does this parable teach us? The Italian program “A sua immagine” was not able to discuss this. They left this difficult issue to seek safety in a dialog about miracles instead. 

The Liparian priest never read the parable. He read the “short (easy) version (Luke 16:10-13 ), so I did not have to explain it. I wonder why.

NB. The priest in the television mass read however the parable and Pope Franciscus talked about it without explaining it. The dishonest administrator in the parable  is acc ording to him like the many corrupt people we haev today. 

INDEX

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The parable text

Accoring to Luke 16:01-13 Jesus  said to his disciples:

16:01 “There was a certain rich man who had a manager. An accusation was made to him that this man was wasting his possessions. He called him, and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’  “The manager said within himself, ‘What will I do, seeing that my lord is taking away the management position from me? I don’t have strength to dig.  I am ashamed to beg. I know what I will do, so that when I am removed from management, they may receive me into their houses.’ Calling each one of his lord’s debtors to  Him, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe to my lord?’ for an agricultural laborer. He said, ‘A hundred batos of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘How much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred cors of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’
16:08 “His lord commended the dishonest manager because he had done wisely, for the children of this world are, in their own generation, wiser than the children of the light.

jesus explains the parable like this:

16:09 I tell you, make for yourselves friends by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when you fail, they may receive you into the eternal tents.
16:10 He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. He who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? If you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?   No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You aren’t able to serve God and mammon .”

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The message in the Parable

The rich man said to the dishonest administrator “Give an accounting of your management” is interesting as it reminds about Gods willingness to listen to us. God wants us to think about our own behaviour, just like a good teacher wants this from its pupils and students.

The rich man then said “for you can no longer be manager.” makes me think that we must take our responsibility and let someone else do our administration. Leaving our work as manager and administrator can be done only if the parable talks about the administration of a  comunity. That may be the comunity of our church, our work, our classroom or whatever else community of humans.

The administrator shows to be clever. He  found a dishonest solution to secure his future:

Luke 16:04 I know what I will do, so that when I am removed from management, they may receive me into their houses.’

 As the Pope Franciscus said after the Mass celebration in Rome, that teh administrators behaviour is a “example of corruption that is frequent today”. Corrupted people that are not intelligent enough to do a good job, dedicate their time being dishonest instead.

But the problem with this parable comes when Jesus explains the parable like this.  Jesus started his explanation with a very puzzleing answer.

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The parable explained by Jesus

Luke 16:09 “make for yourselves friends by means of unrighteous mammon”

Does really Jesus invite us to get friends with unrighteous behaviour, by e.g. corrupting people? It sonds like “steal from the rich and give to the poor” like Robin Hood did according to the legend.

Maybe the author William Langlands was inspired by this parable?

( Source : wallazee.global.ssl.fastly.net )

But Jesus said according to Matthew 05:20

unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees,  there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

To be dishonest can not be what Jesus intended to teach us with this parable. But this verse of Matthew 06:19  may give us a clue 

“Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.

A friend from Messina read Jesus answer as ““make for yourselves friendship with unrighteous people” like a way of love your enemie. But that has nothing or little to do with the parable. Those borrowers who where in dept with the rich man,  were not necessary unrighteous people beside of not having paid. The administrator made these borrowers unrighteous by asking them to falsify document and pay less.

As the Pope said, the parable may teach us to do something good after our bad behaviour  e.g by making other happy, that is creating “treasures in heaven”. This is valid also if you have been a bad administrator of your own life.

if you have mistreated your own body with e.g. drug abuse, you can once saved, help others to do the same.

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conclusions

As www.goodnewsarticles.com by David A. DePra  writes,  this parable “is one of the more “puzzling” parables of Jesus. Yet in it is one of the most powerful lessons Jesus ever gave as to God’s purpose for us in this age. It answers the questions, “What is God’s purpose in my life? And what should I be doing to cooperate with Him?”

Back to the question ” Does really Jesus invite us to make friends by unrighteous mammon”  as it is written in Luke 16:09 ?

Th article inwww.goodnewsarticles.com by David A. DePra has the best discussion about this parable but David A. DePra does not discuss the meaning of unrighteous mammon.

looking at the verse in Biblehub 16:9 interlingual (with greek)

I see that unrighteous mammon isi written byLuke with  the Greek μαμωνᾶ τῆς ἀδικίας. The translation of μαμωνᾶ τῆς ἀδικίας  is translated by Bibkehub to “the wealth of unrighteousness”

as blog.adw.org/2013/08/what-does-jesus-mean-by-unrighteous-mammon/ writes

Mammon” is a Hebrew and Aramaic word that has a wider concept than just money. It refers to wealth in general and, even further, to the things of this world on which we rely. 

http blog.adw.org discusses the meaning of Mammon being dishonest or unrighteous. The article has this conclusion, that Jesus invites us:

“that we befriend the poor with our “unrighteous mammon,” that we be generous to others who are less fortunate.”

being still confused, I may come back to this post with updates.

 

 

 

 

Kerygma – parable 4, 5 ,6

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INTRODUCTION

The last Sunday at the Catholic Mass we read Luke 15:1-32

It is about taking care of the lost one explained by Jesus with three parables, the lost dracchma coin, the lost sheep and son.
I would say that this is  about not leaving anyone out. It is about including everyone, also those making errors. We are humans not Gods.

INDEX

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The parables

Luke 1:1-32 says:

15:01 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming close to him to hear him. The Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.”

  1. The lost sheep

15:04 He told them this parable. “Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it? When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
15:6 When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that even so there will be more joy
in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance. 

the lost drachma coin

what woman, if she had ten drachma coins, if she lost one drachma coin, wouldn’t light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she found it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I had lost.’ Even so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over  One sinner repenting.”

2. The lost son

15:11 He said, “A certain man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of your property.’ He divided his livelihood between them. Not many days after, the younger son gathered all of this together and traveled into a far country. There he wasted his property with riotous living. When he had spent all of it,  there arose a severe famine in that and he began to be in need. He went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He wanted to fill his belly with the husks that the pigs ate, but no one gave him any. But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many hired
servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I’m dying with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, “Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and in your sight. I am no
more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.”’
15:20 “He arose, and came to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be
called your son.’
15:22 “But the father said to his servants, A drachma coin was worth about 2 days wages ‘Bring out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. Bring the fattened calf, kill it,
15:24and let us eat, and celebrate; for this, my son, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.’ They began to celebrate.
15:25 “Now his elder son was in the field. As he came near to the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants to him, and asked what was going on. He said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your fatherhas killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and healthy.’
15:28 But he was angry, and would not go in. Therefore his father came out, And begged him. But he answered his father, ‘Behold, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed
a commandment of yours, but you never gave me a goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this, your son, came, who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for
him.’ “He said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is Yours. But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost,
and is found.’

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The message

 

As i said in the introduction  the parables are  about including everyone, also those making errors. We are humans learning by doing (often mistakes). We are not perfect.

it is about including everyone or loving each other like God loves us.

Learn from the past

The Roman empire grew thanks to inclusion. It did not last forever because of other reasons. Djenghis Kahn’s family became so powerful because of inclusion. They welcomed Buddhists and had them as advisors. They welcomed Chinese that teached them to produce and use canons. They had Muslims in the army and gave tthem time to pray. (Source: Con Iggulden)

Engage our immigrants.

Some political leaders like Trump and the Italian Salvini have not learned from history and think that by closing  borders they solve issues. They don’t understand the value of immigration on long term. Many Africans that migrate to Europe may become  very important for the European export industry. They know the African languages, they know the African  culture, the African customs.

They can help making commerce with Africa as for sure Africa, like China and India will also sooner or later grow into a huge export market. Africa has a lot of solar energy, fossile resources as well as minerals. Not forgetting about their djungles, with a great biodiversity with a genetic richdom for the farmaceutical industri.

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conclusion

The message of Jesus in these Parables are examples of inclusion, tollerance and love, Examples that are most useful today, two thousand years later.