Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday in Pentecost, Proper 20: A reminder that he is only a man

Opening Sentence
The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. John 4:23

The Day Thou Gavest

Commemoration: Sergius
O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Sergius of Moscow, may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 78

Lessons: Esther 5, Acts 18:12-28, Luke 3:15-22

Haman is one of the most detestable characters in the entire biblical narrative. His jealous hatred for Mordecai and, consequently, for all the Jews is utterly irrational, driven by an inflated sense of his own importance. While the crowds bow in his presence, Mordecai reminds Haman he is only, after all, a man. It is a reminder Haman would rather live without.

In having the king honor Haman with a banquet, Esther is setting the trap which will ultimately lead to Haman's downfall. Haman has no idea that the queen whose favor he thinks he has won is the niece of the hated Mordecai, whose refusal to reverence him still angers Haman even after the banquet.

It is difficult to imagine a man so consumed by hatred as Haman. But it is his pride which will be his undoing. His boasting to his family is a cover for the prick on his conscience that Mordecai is. Haman dreams of becoming a god. Mordecai reminds him he is only a man; and as a man, Haman will come to a most ignoble end.

Now the Day is Over