A Curious Question

Jesus has many titles: Emmanuel, Son of God, and King of Kings; just to name a few, but the most often overlooked nickname for Jesus is “King of the Non Sequitur.”  Throughout the Gospels, Jesus confounds and befuddles by answering questions with questions or responding to challenges via parable, or just plain making no sense.  In the end, it works for Jesus because of the complete otherness of what Jesus is trying to convey.  To put words to God is to create heresy, in most cases, and at the very least, it will put God in a box that is much too small to contain him. (The immediately preceding male pronoun being a prefect example)

It wasn’t much of a surprise to me, then, to read in Sunday’s Gospel lesson a very curious question from Jesus.

“Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “Speak.” “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?”

In the scheme of the story, it seems to make no sense, and the explanation he offers doesn’t help.  Still, despite the seeming disconnect with the larger story, the question, curious as it is, is a helpful one.  As Dean (Bishop) Alexander said in class yesterday regarding the spoken Great Litany, “I’ll compete with you on depravity any day, but I’ve never been that sinful.”

I’ll compete with you on depravity any day, and I am ever so grateful for the forgiveness offered to me in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Some have sinned a whole lot more than me.  Some have lived lives a whole lot purer than me.  Either way, we share a thankfulness for the cancellation of our debt.  The non sequitur from Jesus is a curious one, but it is worth pondering in our hearts as we come to the altar: forgiven, restored, and renewed; and are sent forth empowered to do the work of ministry.

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