Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 8:31b-39; Luke 13:31-35)
People today think of a fox as a wily creature. A foxy man does not reveal his intentions. He takes advantage of another, then slips way. In ancient Jewish culture, however, a fox was more destructive than clever. Foxes were not to be trifled with. For this reason in today’s gospel the Pharisees warn Jesus to get out of Dodge. He goes but not because he is afraid. Indeed, he continues his march to Jerusalem where he knows he will be killed.
Jerusalem is where God meets humans. God speaks there through the prophets. Also, Jerusalem is the home of the temple. In it animal sacrifices are offered to God for the forgiveness of sins. As multiple the sacrifices were and even as devout as those offering the sacrifice may have been, they could not achieve their purpose. The New Testament testifies that only Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross achieved the forgiveness of sins.
Different words in today’s gospel conjure up Halloween. There are foxes and chickens that make interesting costumes. Jesus speaks of demons and the entire reading holds the specter of death. More to the point, however, is that Halloween means “All Hallows Eve,” the eve of All Saints. The saints were made holy by the death of Jesus on the cross.