Word & word
2 Sunday of Lent
February 21, 2016
Some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." He said to them, "Go and tell that fox for me, 'Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.' Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
Luke 13:31-35 (NRSV)
What strength and confidence Jesus consistently shows before the powers of his day, whether governmental or religious. Warned of Herod's intent to destroy him, as the prior Herod had attempted in Jesus' infancy, this time there is no flight into Egypt, no exile.
Rather, in his forthright bold response - "Go and tell that fox for me..." - there lies the revelation that Herod, and the city of Jerusalem, are themselves in exile. They may be situated at the expected place on the surface of the earth, but their hearts are nonetheless exiled. Exiled from their own truest selves and best potential. Exiled from the loving relationship God is offering them. Exiled from the future God intends.
Here is both challenge and invitation. Why might I presume that I am where I should be in relation to God, to community, to the potential of days to come? Might I too not be in exile, and blind to it?
Jesus' expressed desire to gather us together is a part of the work of healing he undertakes today, tomorrow, and the until the third day. Are we willing to be brought together?
[Herod Antipas; Image from biblicalarcheology.org]