Getting right with God
In readings through the coming week, Jesus urges His followers to prepare for escape, in the same way the Israelites dressed at the first Passover before they left Egypt (Exodus 12:11). Notice Luke created a parallel of anticipation for divine encounter – the Israelites journeyed to Mt. Sinai to receive the Law from YHWH, the disciples awaited the Son of Man to return in glory.
Jesus tells two parables, the watchful servant and the watchful homeowner. The servants waited for the Master to return in the night but, unlike custom, the Lord would serve the servants (reminiscent of feet washing from the Last Supper in John 13:1-20). The watchful homeowner looked out for the thief who wanted to break in (the thief represented the devil and evil people and influences within the community). Jesus meant these parables for the leadership of the community, telling them to keep one eye for his return, the other eye against corrupting influences or lax discipline. Jesus wanted His followers to expect Him at any moment, to be ready to act (even escape persecution) and to guard against those with foul intent.
After Jesus’ warning to the leaders in the community, He stated in very stark terms the effect His presence and ministry would have on the world. As the Messiah, He would kindle the end times but those fires would begin with His personal suffering. His Passion set off a chain reaction that would rock the very foundation of society.
In Friday’s reading from Luke 12, Jesus turned His attention to the crowd with an admonition for the end times. People could intuit the weather (eg: wind from the Negev desert to the south meant dry heat.) So why couldn’t people interpret the times? Here, He shifted to a legal analogy. If you’re being sued for an unpaid bill, maybe it’s better to settle before you’re dragged into court and the judge sentences you to debtor’s prison. Of course, this parable was an analogy for the sinner’s debt owed to God. In other words, Jesus implied, “Get right with God before it’s too late.”
Do we make an examination of conscience regularly? We might reflect on how have we tried to “get right” with God lately.
We pray that the coming week does not see any escalation of the horrifying conflict in Israel/Gaza but a determination amongst leaders to strive for lasting peace. Cardinal Nichols asks that we continue to hold in our prayers those who were killed, injured, held hostage, and their families. He adds “The situation facing the millions of civilians in Gaza also calls for effective humanitarian relief. We pray too for those killed, injured and displaced there. At home I appeal for restraint and the total avoidance of hateful language and action, as the impact of this conflict is felt in communities here.”
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