“I begin with ends and end with endings.”

This is the first sentence of an essay by philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, an essay appropriately called “Ends and Endings.”

It’s a sentence that’s not only catchy, but also points to realities that make this week’s lectionary readings clearer. Their meanings rest on the difference between an end and an ending.

So we begin with ends and end with endings as we ask what bodies are for.

Isaiah 55:1-10; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23