Thursday, October 16, 2014

Everybody Loves Reagan (Lk 11:47-54)

I chose a provocative title to grab you again. Maybe those of you not in the habit of reading the day's Gospel will do it, just to see what I say. Well, that's vain. Then again, this blog fits in that misty grey between public and private space.

I couldn't get pop culture out of my head as I read this. Do you remember that part in Les Miserables fairly early on, when the king gives the slain labor leader a state funeral, though he orchestrated his death? That's exactly what I imagine when I read Jesus here. There may have been a great many people who were fond of being God's chosen people, but wanted no part of what God requires. God seems to remind us again and again that His grace is for something; we don't get to hoard blessings, or, if you will, to bury talents.

Would I be angry if God showed mercy to the wrong sorts of people? Would I cling to some work of God in the past, or some privilege of mercy he granted, but not to Him? That's exactly what Jesus is asking here, and he's saying that's exactly what his adversaries have done. He had said, "In vain you search the Scriptures, thinking that by them, you have life...but Moses wrote about me." If your heart is soft, you're ready for whatever God wants to do. If not, His own Son becomes a problem that must be erased. He ended a powerful prophetic utterance about the destruction of the Temple (and the suffering of the people) in another part of this Gospel with these words: "All this shall come upon you because you did not recognize the moment of your visitation." There is no point in a cultural Christianity without Christ. He can see right through it.

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