30th October. Thursday of Week 30
First Reading: Ephesians 6:10-30
(Putting on the armour of God, for the struggle of life)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.
Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.
As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.
Pray also for me, so that when I speak, message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,
for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.
Gospel: Luke 13:31-35
(Pharisees warn of Herod’s plans to seize Jesus; he laments over Jerusalem and its coming destruction.)
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.’”
Love will eventually win out
When Paul (or whoever wrote Ephesians in his name) presents the moral life as a battleground, where we need the whole armor of God, it evokes Jesus’ warning to “Enter the narrow door.” Is the Lord saying that in each of us there are impulses that hold us back from salvation? Right now we may overlook them or even try to silence them, cover them with excuses and arguments. Perhaps, “the narrow door” which leads us to a new, transformed existence is to help a neighbour or relative in their old age or sickness; dedicate some of our time to prayer reflection. The gospel recognizes Jesus’ struggle with the certainty of his impending death, the narrow door by which he would return to his true life in heaven. But he sees his ministry as that of a prophet who must speak his truth no matter what the cost. And he will die a prophet’s death in Jerusalem. Still, the Holy City does not evoke hatred and bitterness, only an expression of his sorrowing love and his indomitable hope: “How often have I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her young under her wings.” Eventually, love will win out.