30th Week in Ord.
Time, Thursday – 29th October 2020 — Gospel: Lk 13,31-35
Inexorable Divine Will
As Jesus continues on his way to Jerusalem,
he knows that he would face certain death. The Pharisees approach Jesus, warn
him about Herod, and urge him to move away. Only here do we find the motive of
the Pharisees is not deceiving. But Jesus states his determination to finish
his work in Jerusalem with a triad “today, tomorrow, and third/next day” in
verses 32 and 33. The first triad indicates the passive presence of the divine
in Jesus’ works in order to “finish” on the third day. The things that need to
be finished are Jesus’ day-by-day works of God’s kingdom: healing and
exorcisms. Jesus turns to compare that Herod is just a clever little fox and
God is in charge. In verse 33, Jesus picks up the second triad of days and
takes them to the ultimate destination: Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the city that
kills its prophets and stones its messengers. Jesus views it more urgent to go
to Jerusalem because of God’s will than to heed warnings about Herod. Jesus is
aware that this is the place where he too must suffer and die. The emphasis
here is not simply to repeat triads about days, or threats from local rulers
like Herod, but to manifest an inexorable divine will. For it is God’s concern
that impels Jesus to the journey’s end in Jerusalem, where he will fulfill a
prophet’s destiny saying, “It is finished”.
Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles,
Wednesday – 28th October 2020 — Gospel:
Witnesses of Profound Union
St.Simon and St.Jude were apostles and
martyrs of Persia, the lands of modern-day Iran. Simon’s symbol is a book with
a fish upon it, symbolizing a fisher of men through the power of the gospel.
Jude’s symbol is a ship with full sails, symbolizing an avid spreader of the
gospel over great distances. Simon the Zealot, belonged to the group of the
Zealots, a puritan and extremist group opposed to the Roman rule in Judea at
the time of Jesus. He was a freedom fighter for the Jews who were oppressed by
the Romans. However, he left all that and joined Jesus to be his follower. Jude
or Judas Thaddeus, is different from the Judas Iscariot the traitor, who is the
patron saint of hopeless cases. He
remained faithful to the Lord, and continued to preach the good news together
with Simon the Zealot. However, from the
gospel we come to know only their names found in the list of apostles.
Obviously the position of the twelve apostles was important in the early church. The gospel pictures Jesus calling forth the chosen twelve apostles, after spending the whole night in prayer. Even though the apostles whom we remember today are not prominent in any way, they were equal in status along with other apostles. All of them were strengthened by Jesus’ prayer and discerned through the intervention of God the Father. These apostles had a special role since they were “eye-witnesses” of the ministry and life of Jesus. They witnessed, as said in the gospels, that many sick people came and touched Jesus and the healing power went out from him curing all types of diseases. These chosen followers of Jesus were not only apostles, but were the first missionaries. The memory of these chosen ones, once again remind us of the role of each believer, i.e., called to continue the work of the apostolic church. Two aspects are recalled from their life: 1) being grounded and rooted in the Biblical and Apostolic Tradition of the twelve apostles; and 2) continuing to be missionaries by going out to the world and announcing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Like all other apostles, Simon and Jude also bore witness to Jesus, because they had profound union with the Lord, which gave them strength to endure many hardships, trials, difficulties, sufferings and martyrdom.