Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Luke Chapter 13

This chapter reiterates the essence of the Gospel: “Repent”! In the first five verses of this chapter, Jesus uses a historical happening (a tower falling in the town of Siloam and killing 18 people) to refocus all his teaching, all his miracle working, and all his predictions of his own death, to the single point of his Life and Gospel: “Repent!”

Likewise, the parable that follows and ends at v. 9, followed by the saying about the Narrow Door (vv. 22-30), all have to do with this renewed call to Repentance and the inevitably of death and judgment; Salvation for the just and rejection for the unjust. These two sayings alone could justify the fact that Herod’s desire to kill Jesus (vv. 31-33). Jesus words about Herod seems to indicate that Herod knew that Jesus thought he was unjust. Therefore, we can also assume that Herod was familiar with Jesus’s preaching.

There is a healing episode in this chapter as well. Jesus heals a crippled woman on the Sabbath (vv. 10-17). This passage, and the words that Jesus exchanges with the leader of the synagogue gives him an opportunity, once again, to reiterate the purpose of his life and ministry: to heal and to bring about repentance for the kingdom of God. Likewise, this healing and repentance transcends the Laws of the Old Covenant.  Notice the reactions of the synagogue leaders: they are humiliated (v. 17). This is telling: there is no defense in front of the Gospel: it is only life giving, only healing, only Good. There is no argument against it or in spite of it. This is something we can remember when we engage our Faith in the public sphere- there is no system of thought, no philosophy, no ideology that can explain away the Gospel message; supplant the Gospel message or make it irrelevant.  It is wholly logical and is constantly in tune with time and place: the Gospel message is universal: Repent, believe in Christ Jesus and be saved in His name!

But Jesus’s preaching and message is not with its irony. This chapter closes with Jesus lamenting the fact that those who hear him now, will sooner rather than later turn on that message, and on the messenger, and offer him up to be crucified (vv. 34-35).  This is something that we can certainly apply to our daily lives, especially as we continue to struggle with our own fallen humanity and our desire to grow in holiness while at the same time confronting our ability to sin.  But remember Jesus’s parable of the barren fig tree from the beginning of the chapter (vv. 6-9), we are to retain the ability to bear fruit for the Lord- by this the Lord is glorified- that we bear Fruit in His name!

Point for Prayer
“Savior of the world, you have offered me salvation from all that would oppress me above all my sins. Help me to have a true and honest appreciation of the moral and spiritual state of my life. Assist me to be honest in evaluating myself and my behavior in the light of your teachings and expectations. Strengthen me with the love of the Holy Spirit and your gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation” (129).

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