28th Week in Ord. Time, Friday – 15th October 2021 — Gospel: Lk 12,1-7
Becoming His Friends
The crowd surrounding Jesus kept getting bigger and bigger. Luke expresses Jesus’ closeness to them by showing, “I tell you, my friends”. Jesus didn’t become intoxicated by the growing human popularity. He wasn’t trying to feed his own ego by multiplying followers. He was interested in trying to win true friends. In fact, as he instructed his listeners to care less about what happens to them during their life than what will happen beyond death, he called them my friends. Jesus wants our friendship. Indeed, grace is a gift that elevates our limited human nature so that we can relate to God no longer simply as his creatures, but as his friends. His friends are those whom He dearly loved and had taken into the greatest intimacy and familiarity. He was making known to them whatever He had heard from His Father. He was giving them the best instructions, the most faithful and friendly advice, and proper precautions, “be not afraid of those who will kill the body and after that they have no more that they can do.” Finally, Jesus showed his followers how to be friends, by laying down his life for them. It was the discovery of Christ as a true friend, and a true companion, that inspired the great saint like Teresa of Avila.
28th Week in Ord. Time, Thursday – 14th October 2021 — Gospel: Lk 11,47-54
Children of the Rebellious Spirit
The first recorded martyrdom in the Old Testament is Abel, because his righteousness convicted his brother of his evil deeds (Gen 4,1-15). In the arrangement of the books in the Hebrew Bible, second Chronicles was the last book in the Jewish order. In it, Zechariah was the last prophet to be killed (1 Chr 24,21). Therefore, Jesus ran the entire list of martyrs from the two book ends of the Old Testament, when he mentioned Abel and Zechariah. The blood of all the righteous men who were martyred in the Old Testament would be charged against this current wicked generation, because they rejected God’s revealed wisdom about their sin. As Jesus called out their sin, He hoped that it would stimulate them to reflection and repentance. Instead, as children of Adam and Eve, the initiators of mankind’s rebellion against God, they expressed rebellious spirit. As Jesus uttered these words, He did not suggest that they were personally responsible for killing the Old Testament prophets, rather He knew well that the ultimate crime of the living generation would be the crucifixion of the Son of God. It was because they would murder Him that the blood of all previous persecutions of men of God would fall upon them. This may point to the awful judgment on Jerusalem in 70 AD or it may also include the final judgment.