Reading: Matthew 23:37-39
Reflection: Today we read Matthew’s version – which is almost exactly the same. The difference, though, between Matthew’s version and Luke’s is the context. In Luke, these words are a response to Pharisees who try to warn Jesus, and they come immediately before Jesus shares a meal with a Pharisee and teaches about humility. It’s almost like Luke is trying to say that not all religious leaders are evil.
Matthew, on the other hand, places these words directly after a long sermon of Jesus in which he speaks out against the corruption of the religious leaders. Then, after these words, Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple. For Matthew, the religious leaders represent all that is oppressive, corrupt, and unjust in the world.
One thing they both agree on, though, is that Jesus says the people of Jerusalem will not see him again until they cry, “Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord” – which they did at the triumphal entry. For Jesus this song, which celebrated that he was God’s Sent One, began the last stage of his journey to the cross.
So, what does this mean for us? It means that, whether it was Herod, or the religious leaders, or the people who celebrated Jesus one moment and called for his death the next, Jesus died for them all – refusing to allow their hatred and anger to change his commitment to love. And it means that, if we seek to follow Jesus, we must be equally committed to love even those who persecute and harm us. This is the challenging call of the Gospel. How can you obey this call today?
Practice for Today: When it comes to love, it can be easy to say the words. But, without actions, the words are meaningless. Sometimes we even need to do the actions before we know the feelings or can say the words honestly. One way to act lovingly, even if we don’t feel it, is to give. When we give to those around us – even those who have hurt us – we open the door for love to heal and restore us.
Prayer for Today: As you so willingly gave yourself to me, Jesus, so I seek to give generously to those around me.
Communion with Christ
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