Tuesday, March 12
Dr. Ruth Anne Reese of Asbury Theological Seminary describes in her commentary of Luke 13 three distinct uses of the Greek word, thelo, meaning “desire,” “wish,” or “want.” The Pharisees warn Jesus that Herod wants to kill Jesus (vs.31). Jesus desires to gather Jerusalem to himself as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings (vs. 34). And Jerusalem does not wish to be gathered (vs.35). All distinct uses of the same Greek word, yet with three different consequences.
During these difficult and turbulent times, when it is easier to shout than to listen, I often wonder what I, a minister of the gospel, truly long for or desire. I say I want peace, but do I seek to become peace? I say I wish for all the fighting to stop, but do I desire to stop fighting myself? Sometimes these thoughts and questions drive at the heart of this text. Jesus cried for the holy city of Jerusalem longing to shelter her as a mother to her infant. Yet in equal defiance, the people of Jerusalem did not long for the care of God.
Dr. Reese concludes her observations of this scene stating: “In this world of religious and political violence, what does it mean to long for our enemies to experience Jesus’ compassion even as we ourselves have?” Jesus knew that his message was not to be heeded, but there was work yet to do. He went about healing and caring for those most in need. Jesus’ treacherous road through Jerusalem is our Lenten journey. It may be challenging, but may we desire to be sheltered under our mother’s wings as we go.
Prayer: “Lord make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. And where there is sadness, joy.” Amen. (Prayer of St. Francis)
– Steven Baines