Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 8:312b-39; Luke 13:31-35)
In Vergil’s classical poem The Aeneid the protagonist learns of his destiny to found the city of Rome. Although the end is preordained, he does not understand it as inevitable. Rather, he continually applies himself to achieve it. The project requires strength and self-sacrifice, which Aeneas never fails to exert. Today’s passage from the Gospel of Luke shows Jesus making similar effort to fulfill his destiny.
Jesus knows that Herod Antipas is not one to trifle with. He beheaded John the Baptist on the whim of his step-daughter as well as married his brother’s wife (and also his niece) Herodias. Because he surely could kill Jesus also, Jesus takes the Pharisees’ (his unlikely informers) advice to leave Galilee and proceed to Jerusalem according to plan. There, of course, he will meet his destiny which is to be crucified and to rise from the dead on behalf of both the Jewish nation and the whole world.
Perhaps Paul in today’s first reading expresses best the accomplishment of Jesus. By his cross and resurrection -- both divinely instituted before the beginning of time and executed through his intentional actions – Jesus assures us of God’s love. We no longer are to live in fear or doubt but can live in righteousness knowing that our destiny of eternal life is secure.