Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Worthy Are You

November 18, 2010
Thursday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

They sang a new hymn: “Worthy are you to receive the scroll and to break open its seals, for you were slain and with your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth.” Revelation 5:9-10

As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42

Father, help us to recognize our opportunity to love with our actions, not just our words, our deeds, not just our speech, when your Son invites us to share our love. Because Christ paid the ultimate price for us, you have made us worthy to receive and accept the invitation to love others as you loved us. Holy Spirit, help us to break the seals of selfishness and live for Him as he lived and died for us. Amen.

Jesus began his public ministry by entering the temple in Galilee and reading from the sacred text handed to him. Today, the angels proclaim that He is once again worthy to break the seals and read from these scrolls again. Despite his rejection and death, he can now unroll the scriptures again. He paid for that privilege with his life and his blood.

“The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favor!” (Luke 4:18-19 New Jerusalem Bible Reader’s Edition 1968)

Yet beyond the parallel image of Jesus returning to the temple to read from sacred scripture, we are struck by two stark images today…first the image in Revelation that Jesus has made us a kingdom that will reign on earth.

However, as Jesus enters Jerusalem, he knows that the people will reject him. He laments for his city, his life, and for us. If only we knew what makes for peace.

If only we knew that Jesus makes for peace. Alone. No one else will give us that peace but resting in Jesus. Nothing else will give us that peace except putting aside everything for Jesus. No place else will give us that peace except standing at the foot of the cross weeping with Mary and John – unless, of course, we are asked to climb up there with Jesus.

“If you in your turn had only understood on this day the message of peace! But alas, it is hidden from your eyes.” Jesus weeps because he knows that he is about to enter into a time that is the farthest image from a year of favor as could possibly arise. "This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.”

If only we knew what makes for peace. We certainly know what makes for confrontation. What causes you to weep?

The images of cholera-stricken Haiti? The images of the environment degraded and hives barren of honey bees?

Families torn apart by divorce and children bounced around in a foster care system? Diseases ravaging the bodies and minds of those we love?

War taking the lives of young women and men and older women and men? Children as young as ten years old conscripted and caught in the cross fire of aims and ammunition?

Unemployed workers once again nearing the end of their rope and hope? People around the world living on less than $2 dollars per day?

What shall we do about these to bring about the Lord’s year of favor to them and all?