Friday, November 20, 2020

 Friday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

(Revelation 10:8-11; Luke 19:45-48)

In no other gospel does Jesus act more peaceably than in Luke.  It is true that the Lucan Jesus also speaks of bringing a fire to the earth and of separating parents from children.  But more generally he acts with gentleness.  Only in Luke does Jesus heal the servant’s ear in Gethsemane.  Only in Luke does he stop on his way to Calvary to console the women of Jerusalem.  It is typical then of the Lucan Jesus not to use a whip to drive the merchants from the temple.  Indeed, he is typically more concerned about preserving prayer in the temple than about cleansing it of merchandising.

Also, the Lucan Jesus typically gathers large crowds of people around himself.  They will soon turn on him by calling for his crucifixion, as many as three times.  But in the end they make a second about-face.  After seeing him reward the repentant thief and commend himself to the Father, they beat their breasts in repentance.  In today’s gospel the crowds are said to hang on his words in wonder.

Surely in Jesus there is something to admire.  But, of course, we can admire many people. Our admiration becomes adoration of Jesus because he is different from all the rest.  He spoke with wonder and delivered himself up to death on behalf of others.  Most of all, he rose from the dead to furnish the promise of what our souls most desire.  He promises us happiness, not for a moment or even a lifetime, but forever.