Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gospel for Thursday, 30th Week In Ordinary Time

From: Luke 13:31-35

Jesus' Reply to Herod
[31] At that very hour some Pharisees came, and said to him (Jesus), "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." [32] And he said to them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. [33] Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.'"

Jerusalem Admonished
[34] "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brook under her wings, and you would not! [35] Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

31-33. This episode apparently took place in the Perea region which, like Galilee, was under the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas (cf. Lk 3:1), a son of Herod the Great (cf. note on Mt 2:1). On other occasions St. Luke mentions that Herod was keen to meet Jesus and see him perform a miracle (cf. Lk 9:9; 23:8). These Pharisees may be giving Jesus the warning just to get him to go away. Jesus calls Herod--and indirectly his accomplices--a "fox", once again showing his rejection of duplicity and hypocrisy.

Jesus' answer shows them he is completely in command of his life and death: he is the Son of God and his Father's will is his only governor (cf. Jn 10:18).

34. Jesus here shows the infinite extent of his love. St Augustine explores the meaning of this touching simile: "You see, brethren, how a hen becomes weak with her chickens. No other bird, when it is a mother, shows its maternity so clearly. We see all kinds of sparrows building their nests before our eyes; we see swallows, storks, doves, every day building their nests; but we do not know them to be parents, except when we see them on their nests. But the hen is so enfeebled over her brood that even if the chickens are not following her, even if you do not see the young ones, you still know her at once to be a mother. With her wings drooping, her feathers ruffled, her note hoarse, in all her limbs she becomes so sunken and abject, that, as I have said, even though you cannot see her young, you can see she is a mother. That is the way Jesus feels" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 15, 7).

35. Jesus shows the deep sorrow he feels over Jerusalem's resistance to the love God had so often shown it. Later St Luke will record Jesus' weeping over Jerusalem (cf. Lk 19:41). See also the note on Mt 23:37-39.

[The note on Mt 23:37-39 states:
Jesus' moving remarks seem almost to sum up the entire history of salvation and are a testimony to his divinity. Who if not God was thesource of all these acts of mercy which marks the stages of the history of Israel? The image of being protected by wings, which occurs often in the Old Testament, refers to God's love and protection of his people. It is to be found in the prophets, in the canticles of Moses (cf. Deut 32:11), and in many psalms (cf. 17:8; 36:8; 57:2; 61:5; 63:8). "And you would not": the Kingdom of God has been preached to them unremittingly for centuries by the prophets; in these last few years by Jesus himself, the Word of God made man. But the "Holy City" has resisted all the unique graces offered it. Jerusalem should serve as a warning to every Christian: the freedom God has given us by creating us in his image and likeness means that we have this terrible capacity to reject him. A Christian's life is a continuous series of conversions--repeated instances of repentance, of turning to God, who, loving Father that he is, is every ready to forgive.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

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