Sunday, June 26, 2011
You know how sometimes you need to get out of things? Maybe you didn't show up to work, you didn't do something you were supposed to do, you didn't make it to a party?
You know how sometimes you need an excuse?
It has been this way for thousands of years! Today there is this dandy new excuse I picked up at church.
This appears in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and he tells a parable about a man who held a great supper and invited many. He sends his servant to invite people. And you have to love how Christ tells what excuses the people come up with.
These must be the excuses people used to use in ancient Israel when they did not want to show up to something!
The world has not changed!
Jesus lists three excuses these people are giving. They are hilarious and prove that Our Lord had a sense of humor.
One guy says, I just bought a farm, and I have to go out and see it. We still get this one today. "Uh, I just bought a house."
Another guy says, I just got married. We still get this excuse today too.
Someone else says, I have to work on my book about Leonard Pennario. Oh, wait! That was me! Well, if I were in the parable that would be me.
Back to the Bible. Ahem.
A third guy says: I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I have to go and try them out.
Isn't that classic?
I totally lost track of what Christ was saying, I was so charmed by this excuse!
In Latin it is: "Juga boum emi quinque, et eo probare illa; rogo te, habe me excusatum."
That is a useful phrase, "Habe me excusatum." Please excuse me. "Rogo te" is, I pray thee.
If a time machine ever takes you back to ancient Rome now you know how to get out of unwanted social events. Maybe someone asks you to a banquet or to the chariot races and you just want to stay home. Now, you can!
It is fun to look at pictures of oxen. Up above is a great picture I found on Google Images.
Here is a yoke of oxen.
Here is a darling picture of what are, by all accounts, darling animals:
This gentleman on this Web site writes:
Oxen are quiet and unassuming animals that give back far more than they take. They are willing to work long hours with a comparatively small amount of feed and care. Their humility and gentle perseverance are a constant source of example for us all. And Jesus used these quiet creatures to whisper words of encouragement into our hectic lives. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11: 28-30. So come along with us as we look at the ox as a simple, natural, and enjoyable alternative to farming in this fast-paced and high-priced world.
How charming is that? I could totally see wanting to blow off a dinner and go try out my new oxen instead.
Except that the man in the parable is angry. That is God, who has invited all of us, and he is angry that he is getting all these excuses. That excuse about the oxen, it did not go over big.
But it went over big with me!
I like that window into the past.