Thursday, October 29, 2009

On The Third Day, I Will Reach My Goal.

Today’s First Reading is taken from Paul’s Letter to the Romans (8:31b-39)

Paul begins with a question: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” God did not spare his only Son, but gave him to die on the cross to redeem us; how, then, could he not grant us everything else that we need?

Picture a court of law, in which God almighty is the judge. Who will bring charges against those whom God has chosen? Who can condemn them, when Jesus Christ, who died for us, and was raised to life again, stands at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us?

Paul then asks, “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? He lists seven possible troubles: anguish, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and the sword. Some may be put to death for professing their faith in Christ; but that cannot separate them from God’s love. To the contrary, those who bear witness to the faith by giving up their lives draw even closer to God, because they are sharing in the redemptive sacrifice of Christ, who gave his life on the Cross to redeem us all. As it is written: For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

“In all these troubles, we shall overcome, through God, who loves us. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Not death or life, not angels or demons, not the present or the future, not height or depth, nothing at all can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Today’s Gospel is taken from Luke (13:31-35)

Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Leave this place, and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”

Perhaps these Pharisees were acting as sincere friends. We know that there were two Pharisees, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who were disciples of Jesus. But it is more likely that they wanted Jesus to leave Galilee for their own reasons. They had more power to influence public opinion in Judea, so they would rather have him go up to the city of Jerusalem than remain in Galilee.

Jesus replied: “Go tell that fox that I will drive out demons and cure people today, and tomorrow, and on the third day I will accomplish my purpose. In any case, I must continue on my way today and tomorrow, and on the third day, I will reach my goal.” There is yet another reason that Jesus must go to Jerusalem, “surely no prophet can die except in Jerusalem.”

It is not because of Herod’s wish that Jesus must go to Jerusalem, but because God planned for him to go there. Jerusalem was a holy city, because the Temple was there; but it was also there that the people killed the prophets and stoned those who brought God’s word to them. Yet God continues to love them, “like a hen who gathers her chicks under her wing”, but the people of of Jerusalem were not willing to listen. That is why God allowed the holy city, and the Temple which was his dwelling place, to be razed to the ground, just seven decades after the death of Jesus.

Jesus concludes with the words of Psalm 118:26. People greeted one another with these words when they came to Jerusalem: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” The crowd acclaimed Jesus with these words on a Sunday morning in the spring of the year. On the following Friday, they put him to death.

1 comment:

Sarah in the tent said...

Such beautiful readings! Together they tell of God's desire that all should be saved; no matter how low we have fallen, God stoops to conquer our hearts. 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord': we see Christ again in the Eucharist and proclaim it in the Sanctus.
The fox and the chicken: One of the accusations people lay against foxes is the wastefulness of their slaughter. They get in the henhouse, kill all the hens and carry off just one. However, I once saw a natural history programme that explained that this process only looks wasteful because the farmer comes the following morning and clears up the mess. Left to nature, the fox supposedly will come back and take the dead hens too. Those he does not eat immediately, he buries for later. So the relationship between the fox and the hen can involve the death, 'resurrection' and consumption of the hen.
Galileans had a particularly long walk to Jerusalem for their religious obligations. They probably had very good knowledge of the animals and plants they saw en route. Perhaps it was not unusual for them to be woken at dawn by the scary sound of a fox digging up dead prey and guzzling it down.
(A bit far fetched ...? This tendency of mine is why I appreciate your guidance!)