Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

....Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.’” After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.

Saint Luke occasionally throws in an unexpected line or two that freezes us in our tracks. These phrases relate to the preceding passage but could just as easily be left out. We would not miss them at all. Wouldn't Jesus' teaching be complete without "Where the body lies, there vultures gather" and "When the Son of Man comes will he find any righteous persons?" These apparent afterthoughts have a chilling effect on the warm, cozy feelings we have about the Gospel. 

Arriving at the end of Jesus' parable of the three servants, each of whom received ten gold coins from an extraordinarily severe sovereign, and were expected to pay him back many times over, we have heard how the slacker was deprived of his coins. By now we may have forgotten a particular detail of the story,
His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.’
However, the story teller (Jesus) has not forgotten, nor has his fictional protagonist who demands that these “enemies of mine” be slaughtered immediately and in his presence – apparently for his personal entertainment and satisfaction.

Finally, Saint Luke closes the narrative – slams the door? – with After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.” Jesus appears like the president or monarch who takes a few questions from the press, responds, and then abruptly leaves the room, leaving the reporters still shouting more questions.
So what do we make of this one-verse detail? It reminds me that, for all the humility of God who comes to serve and not be served, he is still our judge with authority of life and death. He is the absent king who will return with full authority to reward and condemn. 

The Bible, rooted in Jewish tradition, permits us to complain against God’s authority. Fifty psalms of lamentation, Job, Qoheleth and the prophet Jeremiah extravagantly complain about God’s rule; they sometimes declare our innocence before God, even in the face of God’s innumerable complaints against us! There is plenty of grumbling on all sides.

But all this grumbling – both ours and God’s – is silenced by the Incident in Jerusalem. Jesus entered that eternal temple, stood before the throne of God, and offered the last drop of his own blood in atonement for our sins. Saint John insists on that when he tells us that "blood and water gushed from his side." He has nothing left to give.  

If anyone has a rightful complaint against God and against us it is Jesus, but he has not accused us in God’s presence. The Evangelist Luke will tell us of his mercy, of how he prayed for us: Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." And of his promise to the "good thief: Today you will be with me in Paradise.  

Luke 19:27 seems to say, ‘Speak your peace, and then Be still and know that I am God! We hear his warning and fall in line as he makes his journey up to Jerusalem.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.