Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Gen 11; 12
"These are two chapters which reveal the contrast between
darkness (Gen 11) and light (Gen 12); between the power of the flesh (Gen 11),
and the call of faith (Gen 12). Gen 11 shows the nations scattered; Gen 12 shows
the way in which the nations are blessed through faith. Mankind set themselves
to seek the pinnacle of power, in the building of a tower (like the World Trade
Center!). The clumsy attempt of man to unify himself in defiance of God's offer
of unity and peace results in the judgment of Yahweh, the confusion of tongues,
and the defeat of the power of flesh" (GE Mansfield).
Reading 2 - Psa 15
"LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your
holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks
the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor
no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors
those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his
money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who
does these things will never be shaken" (Psa 15).
Jesus' "Sermon on Mount" (Mat 5-7) is his extended commentary
on Psa 15. "As though white light passes through a prism to be split up into the
many colors of the spectrum, so [Psa 15] passed through the inspired mind of
Jesus to come out in all this colorful teaching" (C Tennant).
A comparison of Psa 15 and the Sermon on the Mount (Mat
Psa 15:1: "Who shall dwell?" (Mat 5:3-12: the
principles of blessedness).
Psa 15:2: "Walketh
uprightly" (Mat 5:13-16: "walks in the
"Speaketh truth in heart" (Mat 5:21-6:34: contrasts heart with
Psa 15:3: "Backbiteth not" (Mat 7:1-5:
"Behold not the mote...").
Psa 15:3: "Nor doeth
evil" (Mat 5:43-48: "Love your enemies").
15:4: "Vile person condemned" (Mat 7:15-23: "By their fruits ye shall know
Psa 15:4: "Sweareth to own hurt" (Mat
5:33-37: "Communication: yea...yea...").
15:5: "Putteth not money to usury" (Mat 5:38-42: "Give without
Psa 15:5: "He that doeth... never
removed" (Mat 7:24-27: Doeth... buildeth on rock... will not
Reading 3 - Mat 8:2
"A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, 'Lord,
if you are willing, you can make me clean' " (Mat 8:2).
"Looking into the eyes of Jesus, the leper found his
confidence once more; he fell forward on his face, his cry of faith rang out,
'Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.' He waited a breathless eternity.
Suddenly he felt firm, gentle hands close on his scaly flesh, the first human
touch he had known for years, and then he heard the voice of Jesus. The leper's
'if' had moved the Lord. His response was, 'I will.' And then with a word of
authority, the evil flesh melted under his touch, the scarred and wasted body
glowed with health. Would that the deeper leprosy of the soul could be so easily
dismissed! But that is a slower work, a work in which Christ can only minister
with the steady co-operation of the sufferer. Faith has to be joined by a
dedication of the heart and the will. But the victory can be won if the desire
for spiritual health is as great as was the leper's longing for physical
perfection. For the Lord's 'I will' to the cry 'thou canst' has lost none of its
effectiveness" (Melva Purkis, "Life of Jesus" p 108).