St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Maple Glen, Pennsylvania


Readings and Reflections on the Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost

Job 1:1; 2:1-10
Psalm 8
Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12
Mark 10:2-16


Dear Friends,

The Book of Job raises the difficult question of the suffering we experience in this life.  Why do we struggle and suffer? These verses suggest that suffering is a test inflicted upon us by Satan, with God’s permission, to see if we have strong faith. I am grateful that Jesus’ words in the Gospels suggest a different understanding than Job.  What IS being modeled for us in Job’s story that we can also find in Christ is to trust in God, regardless of circumstances that tempt us to despair.  The book of Job also teaches that understanding God is well beyond our human ability, but as Christians we know that Jesus reveals God as a loving and good Father.

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is asked about divorce.  In a male dominated culture where women were almost entirely powerless, Jesus challenges the attitude that sees women as “dispensable assets.”  He affirms the “one flesh” unity of a husband and wife as God’s intention for a marriage.  Not for the only time, Jesus calls for a deeper understanding of human dignity than his culture practiced, a way which expresses God’s love and value for everyone.

The Letter to the Hebrews is concerned with showing that Jesus is the unique Son of God who is greater than the law, the prophets, and the angels.  Though higher than us all, Jesus has come to live and suffer among us, so that he might restore us as the children of God – a restoration that the law and prophets are unable to accomplish.

Comment: Jesus is always seeking to restore us to the life God intends us to have – here and forever.  I want to be reminded every day of this wonderful work Jesus comes to do for me and everyone else. He wishes to work through every aspect of my life, in times of suffering, in struggles with relationships, in every situation to guide me into the ways God wishes to work in my life.  It is a great and daily challenge, especially when we suffer, to remember to trust in the God who can raise us from any death we may face.

David S. Robinson, Rector
Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church
Maple Glen, PA 19002