Menu

Join us for the Divine Service on Sundays at 10:30 am

How To Interpret Matthew 24:36-44

In keeping with my theory that much of Scripture is out and out liturgy I present the alternate gospel for Advent 1 (Series A) in the liturgical format it might have been given by St. Matthew.

Here I picture the dominical words in the form of antiphonal prayer. V =Verscicle; R=Response. This is interspersed with commentary by a liturgist (the unmarked portions).

I can envision the church praying the gospel in this manner. The actual gospel itself, then, the Lord's very words, served not only as his living presence among us, but also as patent liturgical formulations.

Today we read it in the church as continuous narrative, and that may be the way it was given and should be heard. But I think there is something more here.

Whenever you have any portion of Scripture that can be easily divided into versicles and responses you should assume that that is what it once was. Or when you see repetitions such as "just so will be the parousia ... " or "one will be taken, one will be left behind" we shoud be open to the possibility that this is more than narrative. 

For me that leaves two possibilities. Either liturgy or hymnody. I prefer the former, but leave open the possibility of the latter. Imagine the church praying this on a Sunday in the year 35 AD.

V: 36 But concerning that day and hour no one knows.
     R: Neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

V: 37 But just as things were in the days of Noah;
     R: just so will be the advent of the Son of Man.

V: 38 For just as in those days before the Deluge people were eating and drinking, getting married and giving in marriage until the day Noah entered the ark, 39 and were unaware until the Cataclysm came and washed them all away;
     R: just so will be the the advent of the Son of Man.

V: 40 Then two men shall be in the field,
      R: one will be taken and one left behind.
V: 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill,
     R: one will be taken and one left behind.

42 And so watch because you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

43 But know this that if the master of the house had known what time the thief was coming he would have kept watch, and not have allowed his house to be burglarized. 44 Therefore you must also be at the ready because the Son of Man will come at the the hour you don't expect.

 

Leave a Comment

SPAM protection (do not modify):
Leave this field untouched:
Leave this field untouched:
Leave this field untouched: