Friday, October 27, 2006

29th Friday in Ordinary Time (II)
Crowds and Prisoners

Readings: Ephesians 4:1-6; Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6; Luke 12:54-59

Jesus said to the crowds… So begins our gospel reading today. Indeed, in Jesus’ day, there must have been many who hung around Him, many who came to check Him out, or perhaps even to ask for healing, or for advice. And yet few actually became his disciples. Few followed him on the road to Jerusalem. And fewer yet actually made it to Calvary. Who, we might ask, are these crowds? What are they like? We get some indication from what Jesus says to them today.

Hypocrites! He calls them. You know how to interpret the face of the earth and the sky. How is it you do not know how to interpret these times?... Why not judge for yourselves what is right?

These are intelligent and clever people – not unlike our own high-tech generation – and yet something keeps them from acknowledging Jesus as Lord. Something prevents them from becoming disciples, from committing their lives to His Way, from following Him on the road to Jerusalem. This reluctance is understandable, especially when we consider how the author of the letter to the Ephesians describes himself in the first reading. I, the prisoner in the Lord… Quite apart from the horrors of Calvary, true commitment – any kind of commitment, let alone commitment to Christ and His Cross – often feels like a kind of imprisonment. It limits our possibilities – to be married to one, for example, is to forgo all the others. And so we hang back.

And yet, quite paradoxically perhaps, to remain free as the crowds do leads only to a different kind of imprisonment. One becomes enslaved by one’s own selfish whims and fancies, not to mention those of others. Isn’t this what Jesus means when he warns that the judge and bailiff will have you thrown into prison?

Far better to commit one’s life to the one Lord… and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all.

Where is this commitment leading us this day?

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