The theme of Sunday's Lectionary is (supposed to be) humility and penitence. But apparently nobody told the editors of the RCL.
Luke 18:9-14Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, `God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.'
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, `God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'
I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."
OK - Who are you? Pharisee? Tax Collector?
Now read this:
2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18
I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
And the lesson we should learn here is....?
Yes, I know. There is an extremely good distinction to be made about the context and target of the two passages. But do we really need to make the subtle point of distinction? Why? Just incase we happen to have an unsure Apostle in the pew?
With all of the NT writings to choose from the RCL Editors could not have found a better fit?
We are coming to the end of our first 3 years with the RCL which was supposed to be a preacher's delight and all I can say is "Please don't do me any more favors!"