Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Meaning Was Hidden, So That They Could Not Understand.

First Reading: Zechariah 2:5-9. 14-15a

In the previous chapter of the book of the Prophet Zechariah, God had promised that his people would rebuild Jerusalem. Now, Zechariah sees a man with a measuring line, an architect or engineer who was about to mark off the place where the walls of the new city would be built. Walls around the city would make the city safe, so that the people of God could build houses for themselves and a temple for the LORD.

Then the angel who has been Zechariah’s guide goes to speak with another angel, who has a message from God to the young man with the measuring line. The new city would not need walls with ramparts and watchtowers built around it. There were three reasons for this: God invited all comers to enter Jerusalem. It would be God himself who would protect the city not with stone walls, but with a wall of fire. And within the city, God would dwell in the midst of his chosen people, and all who chose to join them there.


Gospel :Luke 9:43b-45

While the people were astonished at his every deed, Jesus said to his disciples: “‘Give careful attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is going to be handed over to men.” But the apostles did not understand what he meant. The meaning of what he said was hidden from them, and they did not understand. But they were afraid to ask him to explain what he had said.

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“The meaning of what he said was hidden from them, so that they could not understand.” Another translation reads: “Something prevented them from grasping what he meant ...” Whenever we don’t understand, or we don’t want to understand, there always seems to be “something” that prevents us from understanding. Surely, the problem can’t be within us – or can it? It may be fear that makes us look away – which is the first step toward running away. The Twelve “were afraid to ask him to explain what he had said”, according to Luke. Why were they afraid? Wasn’t he their friend, their rabbi? They had no reason to fear him. Truth told, it was not Jesus that they were afraid of. They were afraid that what he was saying was true, and they did not want to hear it.

“There is no reason to be afraid of the truth” is something we were often told as children. But the truth is, there’s every reason! Truth told, there’s no reason to be afraid of anything else. If I lie, I am turning my back on the truth, because I’m afraid to face it. A lie is an evasion intended to preserve my sense of well-being. Lies are afraid of nothing as much as the truth, because the truth has the power to destroy them. “The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light…” (John 3:19). “Are you afraid of the dark?” “No, I'm afraid of the light!” If I look at myself in the light, I might have to admit to myself that I am not righteous, but a sinner.

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