Exodus 3:16-11:8 The timing of the readings is perfect, bringing us from Moses’ return to Egypt to the last of the plagues before the Passover. (Oddly, given the centrality of Passover in Holy Week, next week’s readings don’t include the Passover, the Exodus readings resuming after Easter.) This week’s readings invite us to take in the original, brutal, context of Passover: state power oppressing a minority, implacable even as its decisions bring disaster on its “own” people. (The current Russian invasion of the Ukraine adding an important layer to our reading.)
1 Corinthians 14:1 – 2 Corinthians 4:18 We’re moving at breakneck speed through these letters. Something we might try this time around: from the start of 1 Corinthians Paul has been challenging the Corinthians’ strategies for getting honor/prestige/status (some of the meanings of ‘doxa’, also frequently translated ‘glory’). Notice how that renewing of the mind (Rom 12:2) with regard to doxa (1 Cor. 15:40-41, 43; 2 Cor. 1:20; 3:7-11, 18; 4:4, 6, 15, 17) is decisive for a wide variety of issues .
If we want one text to capture much of the content, 1 Cor 16:13-14 looks like a strong candidate: “Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
Mark 9:30-10:52 Mark 8:27-10:52 looks to many to be a unit, unified by the journey to Jerusalem and the instruction re discipleship. This week’s readings would be the latter part of that. One notable sleeper: when we hear “human hands” (9:31) we assume a Jerusalem referent—and then Mark gives us a whole series of stories about the disciples’ hands at work (9:33ff; 9:38ff; 10:13ff etc.). We are rightly distressed by the dysfunctionality within the Church; after reading Mark perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by it.