Rising to What We Can Be — Lk 13:31-35


Lent 2C Ps 27/ Gen 15.1-12, 17-18/ Phil 3.17-4.1/ Lk 13.(22-30) 31-35


In the news, there is often a recall of vehicles or other products, due to some fault that has caused destruction and pain.  The repair has to be undertaken by the manufacturer.  The individual owner of the product cannot undertake a reliable repair.  Another manufacturer cannot do the repair, and neither can the government.

In Lent, we are urged to self examination, for example, in meditating on the Ten Commandments.  God gave us the Ten Commandments, but quite evidently, we fail to keep them.  No one succeeds, and our failures cause a cascade of destruction and pain, a moral failure which spreads to ruin everything.  Something has to be repaired in us, the repair of which can be done by our maker alone.  No human agent can repair us.

Our gospel text for today is Lk 13.35: You will not see me at all until you say, “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” One meaning is this: We will only see the healing or repair of God in our lives when we embrace Jesus Christ as our own Messiah.

The source of our failures is evil in some form or another, whether Satanic, individual, or social.  As with the truth told in the words of a good doctor, unpleasant as it may be, when told in love, the truth is medicine that can stop and heal that evil, and rescue us from further evil.

Jesus is portrayed as the Messiah who comes in history, in person, in space and in time, to rescue the people of God – a Messiah who is a healer, a prophet, a priest, and a king.  Notice the difference from any other world or religious leader:

  • Jesus comes as a healer – ‘Yesterday and today I am casting out demons and performing cures’.
  • Jesus comes as a prophet – ‘Jerusalem… kills the prophets’. A prophet tells God’s truth:  Jesus came as the truth, born of humanity, and of divine love and truth. Jesus loves us.  When he tells us the truth, it is not to dismay or destroy us, but in order to gather us ‘as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings’ in this lovely feminine image of God – to protect us:  to stop the evil, to heal us, and to prevent further evil. It is the kind of truth that our mother may tell us about ourselves. She knows us and knows our shortcomings; and when she says as much, it is for the sake of building us up into something better.
  • Jesus comes as a priest because he offers himself as a sacrifice for us, and is then raised by God – ‘On the third day I finish my work.’ At this time of year there is the anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.  As God’s love and truth in person, Jesus the Messiah came to carry out the most significant battle of all time, which he carried out alone: That, on the cross in Jerusalem, Jesus “must” (Lukan dei) meet and defeat the source and focus of evil in person.
  • Jesus comes as a king in his return in glory – ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’

The Gospel says that we will not see the deliverance of God in our lives until we welcome the love and truth of God in Jesus as our own personal Messiah.  Or, vice versa, when we welcome God’s love and truth in the Messiah, then we will see the deliverance of God, and begin to realize what we were born for.

We live the life that God intends for us when we welcome those that remind us to worship God, remind us of love, and of truth; remind us of what we can become; and when we dare to rise to the fullness of life to which God points us.


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