“And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the leaders of the people sought to destroy him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people hung upon his words, listening.” (Lk 19: 47-48)
What is one to do, if he or she is not blessed with good leaders; with leaders who seek to “destroy” Christ rather than to follow and serve Him? One does as did the people mentioned in the passage above, from our Church’s reading for today: They “hung upon” the Lord’s words, “listening.” That’s all I’ve got, concerning today’s reading. Lord, help me to listen more, to You, and to see it as an opportunity to “hang upon” Your words more, if ever I am subjected to poor human leadership.
“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things to be observed (μετὰ παρατηρήσεως, with observation); nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is within you (ἐντὸς ὑμῶν).’” (Lk 17: 20-21)
The “kingdom” Christ is talking about is one in which He is King; in which He is both our primary and ultimate authority. This “kingdom” already “is,” because Christ is already King. However, for this kingdom to “come” to us, and for us to inhabit it, it requires our response to His authority, in “obedience” to (from the Latin “ob-audire,” literally, “listen(ing) to”), and acceptance of, Him as King.
It is “within us” that we nurture this obedience and acceptance of Christ, through our up...
“…And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable (ἀνεκτότερον) on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.” (Mt 10: 14-15)
Today many of us think of “the land of Sodom and Gomorrah” as the very-worst of immoral, sinful places. But, according to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, that “place” is “more tolerable” to God’s vision or judgment, than our unwillingness to “receive” or “listen to” His words. And let me add, if I might, the plain fact that most of us, including me, often dismiss or ignore God’s word in our lives, on a daily basis.
That’s all I’ve got to say today about this passage, which happens to be our Church’s reading...
“You search (ἐραυνᾶτε) the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (Jn 5: 39-40)
So, it is possible to seek “life” in the written words we’ve received in Tradition, while forgetting the Author of these words. I can easily miss the point of the Word of God, if I turn it into some abstract philosophy or “system of moral values,” divorced from the lived experience of encountering Christ; of “coming to Him,” that I may truly have life. I think this approach is often a pitfall, – subtle and yet tragic, – of those of us who study theology. What’s “tragic” about this approach is that it turns us into terrible bores, devoid of the Spirit. It’s what turns us into “people talking wi...