Daily Reflection – 10/31/19
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “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.'”( Luke 13:31-35)
We see in this passage two forms of power out work. Herod leans on political force and military might. As is often the case, violence is the first resource of the powerful. Jesus on the other hand chooses a different path.
Jesus’ response is not one of hatred or animosity. It is not one of fear or polarization, an entrenchment back into the security of our own social grouping. Jesus doesn’t react by arming himself or rallying the troops. No, instead Jesus enters into a moment of lament 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.
In the United States today, fear is the fuel of the day: fear of those who are different, fear of death, fear of our own shortcomings, fear that our way is threatened and fear that the things we value will be taken away from us. How are we — in the face of religious differences, cultural upheaval, mass migration, communal crises over affordable housing, and violent conflicts — to live? Do we turn our faces back toward Galilee? Do we “stand our ground” and fight? Or do we embody the likeness of Christ, who lamented over the world’s brokenness and was moved to compassion.
Today Jesus is saying these loving words to us. He also 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! Is there any love? What a wondrous gift is ours! The question is: Will we reciprocate by loving Jesus and daily walking by his side? Or will we follow the darker side of life – the road that leads not to eternal peace but rather to perpetual discord of soul and spirit? Listen to your heart, feel its peace and you will walk with Him.
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, in you I place all my trust and hope. May I wholly desire you and your will above all else and long for the heavenly city Jerusalem as my true home and refuge. Fill my heart with love and mercy for others that I may boldly witness to the truth and joy of the gospel through word and example, both to those who accept it and to those who oppose it.”
What does it mean in a time of violence, pain, and loss, that Jesus’ response is not to rush to “solve and answer” the problems that plague us, but that he takes the time to lament, to cry, and to feel compassion? What does it mean for us today that Jesus’ compassion extends to even his enemies?