When we set out to start a business, a project, a book, or an endeavor of any kind, most of us begin by asking ourselves, who is my audience, and how can I make my work relevant to them? Outside the arena of biblical preaching, these are normal, practical – even necessary – questions. However, for a priest, this line of thinking is inevitably toxic – good for the material well-being of the church but incompatible with the preaching of the biblical story, entrusted part and parcel with the consecrated Lamb placed in your human hands on the day of your ordination.
I can’t tell you how often people have reacted to the gospel’s content by saying, “That’s all fine and good, Father, and I agree, but no one today is interested.”
This statement reveals two truths: one, that the person who made it is not studying Scripture, and two, that Scripture itself is again fulfilled because, according to Scripture, no generation is, was, or will ever be interested in Scripture. (I explained last week that no one, let alone the preacher, can agree with or is on the side of Scripture, so I’ll leave that point aside.)
Irrelevance is the cornerstone of the biblical genre. I dare say that the mercy of the Scriptural God is that he would pause from his laughter to explain to the human race why he is laughing.
His reason unfolds as the content of Scripture:
“A generation goes, and a generation comes…
That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun.”
The genealogy in Luke, akin to Ecclesiastes and indeed all biblical anti-history, is shared with humanity to help us comprehend our irrelevance. Only when we understand what is irrelevant can we devote ourselves to the one genuinely relevant thing.
Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Luke 3:29 (Episode 483)
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