27 Oct, Thursday of Week 30

Rom 8:31ff. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus.

Lk 13:31ff. When Pharisees warn Jesus against Herod’s plans to seize him, he laments over Jerusalem, its rejection of prophets and its coming destruction.

The Armour of God

The Scriptures mince no words in warning us about the battle against evil in which we are all engaged. Even if expressed in terms of “trial or distress, or persecution, or hunger” the battle for goodness and integrity is fought against overwhelming odds. Yet the same passages also offer a sense of confidence, almost suggesting that the battle is already over and won. Paul writes, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?”

We must take seriously the double position: 1) “our battle ultimately is not against human forces but “against principalities and powers”; and 2) nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” The excelling love of God is real, but it does not make dispense us from the struggle. We are required to face, each in our own way, “trial or distress, or persecution, or hunger, etc.” These problems and sorrows will still rend our heart but they are not excuses for giving in to depression or panic, or failure to face up to the crises in our lives.

Paul offers a perpetual source of new strength for coping with these trials, “in all this we are more than conquerors because of him who loved us.” Love is, then, the secret ingredient in our response to life. We must keep ever before our eyes the image of Jesus and the love which prompted his obedience to the will of the Father: Will not he who for our sake did not spare his own Son, grant us all things besides?

The gospel recognizes the certainty of Jesus’ struggle with death: On the third day my purpose is accomplished. No prophet can be allowed to die anywhere except in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, however, does not evoke hatred and bitterness, only sorrowing love and eventual hope: How often have I wanted to gather your children together as a hen collects her young under her wings. Eventually, love wins out.

First Reading: Romans 8:31-39

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gospel: Luke 13:31-35

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 Jersalem.’

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.’”

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