The Fight Between Carnival and Lent, 
Pintado por Pieter Breughel the Elder (1525-1569),
Óleo sobre tabla,
Executed in 1559,
© Kunsthistorisches Museum, Viena

The Fight Between Carnival and Lent, 
Pintado por Pieter Breughel the Elder (1525-1569),
Óleo sobre tabla,
Executed in 1559,
© Kunsthistorisches Museum, Viena

Gospel of 23 noviembre 2019

Some scribes then spoke up. ‘Well put, Master’

Lucas 20:27-40

Algunos saduceos -los que dicen que no hay resurrección- se acercaron a Jesús y le plantearon esta pregunta: "Maestro, tenemos escrito en Moisés que si el hermano casado de un hombre muere sin hijos, éste debe casarse con la viuda para criar hijos para su hermano. Pues bien, había siete hermanos. El primero, habiéndose casado con una mujer, murió sin hijos. El segundo y luego el tercero se casaron con la viuda. Y lo mismo con los siete, murieron sin dejar hijos. Finalmente, la propia mujer murió. Ahora, en la resurrección, ¿con cuál de ellos será esposa ya que había estado casada con los siete?

Jesus replied, ‘The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are sons of God. And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again, in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive.’

Some scribes then spoke up. ‘Well put, Master’ they said – because they would not dare to ask him any more questions.

Reflexión sobre la pintura

A rather difficult reading today, but let us concentrate on the very last sentence. We hear how the scribes actually praised Jesus and were ok with what He just told them. Sometimes when reading the Gospels, or even in our daily lives, we tend to generalise about how we view certain groups of people: ‘all politicians are…’; ‘the scribes are…’; ‘young people nowadays…’ etc… But Luke shows us here by simply having added this phrase to this passage, that reality is more subtle and complex and that we shouldn’t be too quick to judge.

As Luke talks about the Scribes, to me this is prompting all of us lay people and religious people not to waste time and energy in non essential debates that neither help spread God’s Word nor help address real-life issues people face on a day-to-day basis. Internal squabbles whether in a parish, or the larger church, have a real danger of becoming a distraction from our real Christian duties and mission. Luke to me is stating that whilst the Scribes/we are doing important work by discussing small details of scripture, liturgy or Church life, we must never lose the wider picture of love we must hold for the Church and not create needless divisions.

A painting showing such internal divisions in a village, is this wonderful painting by Breughel, The Fight Between Carnival and Lent painted in 1559. It shows two contrasting attitudes to life, with on the left side a pub for enjoyment (lots of beer drinking going on!) and on the right a church, for religious worship (well behaved innocent children in front). In the middle we see the coming together and clashing of both sides. Despite the battles and flights they have, they are still one village, one community… one Church!

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