Joseph W.H. Lough
Some observations for reflection regarding the Gospel reading for Proper 12: Luke 11:1-13, a text devoted to the Lord’s Prayer (vv. 1-4), the Friend at Midnight (vv. 5-8), and The Answer to Prayer (vv. 9-13).
We might note to begin with that it is only Matthew and Luke who include these pericopes.
Next, however, it is interesting to note that in Luke this set of stories is preceded by the Parable of the Good Samaritan (10:29-37) and the pericope about Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) – of which there are no parallels in the other gospels – Matthew prefaces his text with a discourse on almsgiving (Matt. 6:1-4) and a discourse on prayer (Matt. 6:5-8).
Third, while Matthew and Luke hold in common Jesus’ discussion of loving one’s enemies, Matthew places this discussion immediately before his discussion of almsgiving and prayer (Matt. 5:43-48), whereas Luke places this discussion (Luke 6:27-28, 32-36) immediately after the blessings and curses (Luke 6:20-26), the beatitudes and the woes.
In other words, while the trajectory in Matthew is loving one’s enemies => almsgiving => prayer => Lord’s Prayer, the trajectory in Luke is Good Samaritan => Mary and Martha => Lord’s Prayer.
We might suppose that this reordering of texts along with the insertion of Luke’s peculiar stories (Good Samaritan and Mary and Martha) tell us no more than the order and condition of the stories when they reached these two different communities (Matthew’s and Luke’s), we may also be curious over how these two additional stories made their way into Luke’s text and how loving one’s enemies came to be associated in Luke’s community with the beatitudes and the woes.