instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

He ain't hairy, he's my brother

The Lectionary does something interesting today.

Yesterday's Gospel was Matthew 7:1-5. Today picks up at verse 6:
"Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces."
I suppose that would be a rough way to have ended the Gospel yesterday, so I can see why the chapter was broken up this way.

Next, vv. 7-11 are skipped. These compose the "Ask and it will be given to you" passage, which is on the Sunday rotation, so that too is understandable within the logic of the Lectionary.

As a result, today's liturgical proclamation skip from v. 6 to v. 12:
"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets."
It makes for a curious juxtaposition, a don't followed by a do. Don't give what is holy to dogs, yet do to them what you would want them to do to you.

What you would want (I trust) is that they would give what is holy to you, in the sense that they would share with you what they have received from God.

So should we or should we not share with "dogs" and "swine" (per the NAB, "Jewish terms of contempt for Gentiles") what we have received from God?

I'd say the answer is surely yes, once we have helped raise them up from dogs to men. We do that by telling them about Jesus, and inviting them to become His disciples and our brothers.

"Do not give what is holy to dogs," then, is fundamentally a command, not to refrain from something, but to do something extra.