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The ‘Our Father’ of My Childhood
The Contexts of the Story
The Historical Context of the Our Father
My Historical Context
Blending Contexts in an On-going History
Companions on the Way
The Word ‘Debt/Indebted’ in the Our Father
Main Focus on Luke 11:4
Usual Interpretation of ‘Sin’ and ‘Debt’
Larger Than Sin
Indebtedness in Jesus’ Historical Setting
Where has the Jubilee Year Gone?
Rabbi Hillel’s Prosbul
The Significance of the Word ‘Debt’
The Jubilee Year in the Lk 4:16-30
More Than Sin-Orientation: The Kingdom of God
Breaking Fixed or Petrified Perspectives
Re-reading Lk 11:4 Through Jesus’ Eyes
Re-reading Lk 11:4 Through the Eyes of an Awakened, Poor Jew
Re-reading Lk 11:4 in the Larger Context of Luke’s Gospel
Lk 18: 18-27: a Commentary on Luke’s ‘Our Father’.
Social Justice in the Larger Context of Luke-Acts
Re-reading Lk 11:4 in the Context of Acts 2 and 4
Re-reading Luke 11:4 in My Context
The Need for an Alternative Spirituality
Before We Part Ways: Time to Recharge and Refresh
As We Part
Bibliography
Footnotes
All Pages

[1] This paper’s exegetical and theological foundations were perused and approved by Sr. Miriam R. Alejandrino, OSB. Sr. Miriam finished her Licentiate in Sacred Scriptures (SSL) at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, and her Doctorate in Sacred Theology (Biblical Theology) at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. Also, this paper’s philosophical foundations were perused and approved by Rev. Liberato O. Ortega. Father Liber finished his Licentiate in Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.

 

[2] Cf. Mk 1:14-15. Biblically speaking, salvation is synonymous to the Kingdom of God. It is helpful to keep this in mind for now. Its biblical foundations will be made clearer as we go on.

 

[3] The law of prayer is the law of belief and the law of action. We express in prayer what we believe, and these ought to be the basis of our actions.

[4]Let me introduce my companions on the journey: Carlos H. Abesamis, SJ, my mentor, has inspired and taught me to look at Jesus and his mission, the Bible and life itself according to the awakened, struggling poor people’s perspective. This tool (or way of reading) – the so called ‘third look’— is mainly employed in this essay; moreover, Father Carl’s insights are used as primary sources. I also relied on either the pertinent researches of the following professors and scholars or their ways of using some methods and tools for Biblical interpretation, or both: Maria Anicia Co, RVM, Andy Cosalan, Miriam Alejandrino, OSB, Anthony Ceresko, OSFS, Bp. Broderick Pabillo, Herman Hendrickx, CICM, N.T. Wright, Richard Horsley, Norman Gottwald, Juan Luis Segundo, D.S. Russel, Helmer Ringgren, Elizabeth Shussler Fiorenza, Neil Asher Silberman, John Hansen, Manfred Davidmann, Emanuel Quint, A. Edersheim, John Meier, Raymond Brown, Marcus Borg, Marius Reiser, John Dominic Crossan, Ched Myers, R. S. Sugirtharajah, John Miller, Sean Freyne, Jose Miguez Bonino, Joseph Kudasiewicks, Raymond Martin, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and the people behind the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT), the Logos Scholar’s Electronic Library (Libronix), the New National Catechetical Directory for the Philippines (NNCDP), the Alay Kapwa modules of the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) and the different Bible Translations, of which the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) was mainly used. My apology for not acknowledging these people’s works in detailed footnoting. Their works that I used, nonetheless, are mentioned in this essay’s bibliography.

[5] Salvation of the soul in heaven means that essentially, salvation is a-historical or outside human history.

[6] For Jesus and his culture, the human being is not a dualism of body and soul. He/she is rather a mono-entity, i.e. he/she is plainly a person indivisible and irreducible to dualistic categories. Dualism, of course, has become a part of Christian tradition because of the influence of Graeco-Roman philosophy and Western theology. Be that as it may, we should be aware of the fact that Jesus and his fellow Jews did not speak about dualism. Keeping this in mind may significantly shape our perspective about the essentials of biblical religion, especially those that are pertinent to this essay. I hope this will become clearer in the course of the journey.

 

[7] Law or Instruction; the group of books from Genesis through Deuteronomy containing the religio-civil constitution and legal corpus of Israel.

 

[8] At this point, we make our terminology more precise. You may have noticed, dear reader, that I have been grouping the words ‘poverty, oppression, indebtedness, slavery and injustice.’ I did so because they belong to a category. Such words are major manifestations of social injustice, that is, the absence of justice and liberation in society, both in Jesus’ time and in our contemporary setting. (Of course, the terms ‘justice and liberation’ or ‘social justice’ are not used in the Bible, but what they mean is essentially the same as the biblical ‘good news to the poor.’) The opposite of social injustice is, of course, social justice. There is social justice only when the aforementioned manifestations of social injustice no longer exist in society (or when, at least, they have become significantly isolated, tolerable and minimal cases due to society’s inevitable imperfection). But in a Third World situation where social injustice is massive, widespread, contagious and scandalous, we cannot and should not regard social injustice as normal or usual in human affairs. Awareness of this ought to move us to act and make the promotion of social justice as priority in our ministries.

 

[9] This is also a Sabbatical or seventh year provision.

[10] Heavy indebtedness, as earlier mentioned, was a major manifestation of social injustice in Jesus’ time. Social injustice was a very important concern for the Jews. They longed to be saved from it each time they prayed, “May your Kingdom come.” In re-reading the ‘Our Father’, Lk 11:4 in particular, we keep in mind that the word ‘indebted’ functions in an especial way, that is, in the context of Lk 11:4, it may be understood as representing social injustice. This understanding may pave way for the prayer’s meaningful contextualization in Third World situations. This will be made clearer as we proceed.

 

[11] Cf. Lv 25:10, 39-41.

[12] Cf. Lv 25: 10, 14, 25, 27, 41.

[13] Cf. Lv 25: 11.

[14] Cf. Dt. 15: 1-2.

[15] The Greek ?????? (aphesis), which is used in Lk 4:18-19, Lk 11:4 and Dt 15:2 in the Septuagint (or the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) may be translated as ‘release’ or ‘forgiveness.’

[16] Cf. 1 Jn 2:4; 1 Cor 15:3 for example.

[17] Cf. 2 Pet 3:13; Is 65: 17-25; Rev 21:1-5.

[18] Cf. Mt. 11:2-6 = Lk 7:18-23; Lk 4:16-21; Lk 6:20 = Mt. 5:3.

[19] Cf. Rom 8:19-23.

[20] Literally ‘coming again’ (of Jesus); more popularly called as ‘second coming.’

[21] Cf. Lk 11:20 = Mt 12:28.

[22] Cf. Mk 11:15-19.

[23] Cf. Acts 10:39-41.

[24] Cf. 1 Thess 3:13; Lk 21:25-28

[25] Earlier, we mentioned about the third look, which, to repeat is the way how the poor look at Jesus and his mission. The third look is similar to the way how Jesus looked at himself and his mission. We call this perspective of Jesus as the ‘first look.’ (The ‘second look’ is the way how Christians look at Jesus and his mission according to Graeco-Roman philosophy and Western theology, example of which is the dualistic point of view about the human being we encountered earlier.)

 

[26] Hades is a Greek word; its equivalent in Hebrew is sheol, which, in the Old Testament times, meant the underworld where the dead, as shadows, dwelt. Later, in the period between the Old Testament and New Testament (the so-called Intertestamental Judaism) sheol was understood as a place for the wicked only; still later, near the New Testament and within New Testament times, Sheol developed and took a meaning associated with gehenna or ge hinnom (valley of Hinnom). Hinnom was a city garbage dump where fire and worms thrived. Hinnom then is figuratively used to refer to a place of torment where the wicked went after death. In Lk 16:19-21, it is this place of torment which Hades refers to. And in the story, we glean that it is the sin of social injustice which can lead one to Hades.

 

[27] This refers to Dt 5-28 where Moses is portrayed as rehearsing or repeating the Covenant Law. This section of Deuteronomy -- where we find Dt. 15 (and in which we also find the Jubilee/Sabbatical provision on the cancellation of debts) -- is filled with social justice pronouncements; we see in the Deuteronomic or Mosaic Torah an affinity with the OT prophets’ strong concern on social justice.

 

[28] Remember the elite Jewish leaders. The rich ruler here is one of these.



 
 


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