The Gospel of Luke 13:31-35
Some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'”
Let us Pray: Lord, grant us simplicity of faith and a generosity of service that gives without counting cost. A life overflowing with Grace poured out from the One who gave everything, that we might show the power of love to a broken world, and share the truth from a living Word. Lord, grant us simplicity of faith, and a yearning to share it.This we pray in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
In the Old Testament lesson, we see a warning to Abram. After meeting with the king of Sodom, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; Again, the word of God came to Jesus from the Pharisees: “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” God is a protector, he warned Abram and He warned Jesus. Has God ever warned or protected you from danger? Have you listened to him or been a little like Jesus, who said I am busy, and I am going to finish my work? Jesus was dedicated to the path that was before him. The Pharisees could not and would not deter Jesus from his mission. We see in this passage two forms of power at work. Herod leans on political force and military might. As is often the case, violence is the first resource of the powerful. Jesus has entered the purview of Herod’s attempt at consolidating power and ending a possible rebellion. It’s worked in the recent past, why not now as well? We watch this unfolding today how violence is the first resource of a powerful individual. Jesus on the other hand chooses a different path. He knows his path will create conflict. He knows it will not be easy for his followers, and yet he persists. His reaction though is different from many of us. Jesus’ response is not one of hatred or animosity. It is not one of fear or polarization, or an entrenchment back into the security of our own social grouping. Jesus doesn’t react by arming himself or rallying the troops. Are we like Christ, spurred by love, which fuels courage in the face of fear; a love that renders violence powerless, and refuses to heed the threats of the “powerful”? instead Jesus enters a moment of thinking, driven by compassion. Jesus’ love for Jerusalem and all her inhabitants meets the grief of what it means to reject the one whom God has sent. But Jesus ends with a recognition that Jerusalem will, at least for a moment, recognize him. He refers, of course, to his triumphal entry on Palm Sunday. We have been comparing the road to Jerusalem to the road of discipleship in our lives today. Just as Jesus’ disciples followed him to Jerusalem, so Jesus calls us to follow him to the cross. And just like Jesus who hit some obstacles on the road to Jerusalem, we also can hit obstacles in our spiritual lives. Anything that slows you down in your walk with Christ, anything that diverts you from your course, anything that tempts you to turn around and go back are stumbling blocks on the road of discipleship.
Jesus in His love for us longs to gather us to himself, close to his heart. However, we need to ask ourselves: Am I willing to allow Jesus to gather me to himself? Or do I stay at a distance from Jesus? The good news is that even if we keep our distance from Jesus, he still walks with us every day and every moment! What a wondrous gift of His love is ours! The question is: Will we reciprocate by loving Jesus and daily walking by his side?
Let us Pray: Lord, you alone can provide us with the strength to confront the many forces in the world That seek to beat us down and direct us away from you. Be our strength when we are weak when we think we can no longer go on. This we pray in your Name. Amen
Lent is the great spring-cleaning of the Christian life. It is the traditional season of prayer and fasting in preparation for the great feast of Easter. The word Lent is derived from a Saxon word meaning “spring.” In the early church, Lent was viewed as a spiritual spring, a time of light and joy in the renewal of the soul’s life. I think we have the notion of fasting and giving up wrong during Lent. I think it should be a time of giving, sharing, and helping. What if the focus shifted to what shall we do? What if instead of a list of things to give up, we centered on a list of positive things to accomplish? What if our notion of a faithful life isn’t built on restrictions, but on a divinely inspired freedom to live in right relationship with God, one another, and creation? What shall we do?