Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary 482. Ephesians 6:10-20. Psalm 144:188.8.131.52 Luke
We know that it is Mark who frequently or more than the other evangelists
gives us the emotions of Jesus. Today Luke does that in the lamentation
Jesus gives us over the holy city of Jerusalem. He is far from the city on
his journey but it is always on his mind in Luke who favors the theme of
Jerusalem and uses the city as a bookmark for the progress of his own
narrative about Jesus from beginning to end; he even takes it up in the
Acts of the Apostles.
The passage has positive concern from the Pharisee who warns Jesus about
the sly and shrewd Herod Antipas. This puppet leader “king” is a curious
person and likes the rumors he hears about Jesus. He is fascinated with
anything sensational and Jesus healings and cures are of interest to him
for his prurient curiosity. Jesus who always displays his intelligence in
what he says is also prudent and wise. He calls Herod a fox (think of
Little Red Riding Hood) and carefully stays out of his reach. Prudence is
the better part of valor and Jesus knows this so much better than we do.
As the journey continues toward Jerusalem, Jesus is emotionally moved as he
sighs and laments over the fate of the holy city which has witnessed so
much bloodshed even among the prophets. He too will suffer the same fate
as they did. He tells us, “no prophet can be allowed to die anywhere except
in Jerusalem.” We do not take this literally but as a premonition of Jesus
own sufferings and death on the outskirts of Jerusalem, that is, on
Jerusalem should be his happy home but it is in reality the location where
the death sentence will be given by the Roman governor who is in Jerusalem
on this last visit of Jesus. It is another shrewd and cruel person,
Pontius Pilate, who will put Jesus to death on the Cross. We hear Jesus’
breaking out and lamenting that this city which he loves so much will be
where he is sentenced to death. This pause in Luke’s Journey Narrative
gives us a moment to reflect on the purpose of the journey narrative in
Luke. Luke, the most sensitive among the evangelists, is aware of Jesus’
emotions and feelings and conveys them to us. We will also hear of them in
the meeting of the women with Jesus on his way to the Cross. Personal
passion or emotion in Jesus becomes the Passion Mystery of the Lord.
In reflecting on our last reading of Ephesians in this liturgy of the word,
we have a great program from Paul on the virtues we need and on prayer.
These will help us to fight off all evil powers and influences. Paul’s
suggestions about prayer in the last few lines is worthy of our returning
to them as we end this day and finish our continuous reading of the letter
to the Ephsians. We can use it as our closure to another day on our
journey with Jesus to the Jerusalem that is above. Amen.