33rd Friday in Ordinary Time
Revelation 10: 8 – 11; Ps 119; Luke 19: 45 – 48
In an earlier passage (Lk 4: 31f) St. Luke recounts the peoples’ reaction to Jesus teaching: “In Capernaum, He began instructing them on the Sabbath day. They were spellbound by His teaching, for His words had authority.” An authority that fascinated them – not an authority of domination, of preaching in a condescending manner rather clearly a message of love, of healing, of calling His hearers to a way not burdened with legalism. In this account there is no negative note, no mention of His adversaries. Effortlessly He held their attention… “they were spellbound by His teaching.”
In today’s Gospel we heard: “…all the people were hanging on His words.” All the people included those taken with Him and His message and those whose motive was simply to catch Him in His speech so to put Him to death. They hung on His words, too, but with sinister motives. For now, the chief priests, the scribes, the leaders were frustrated in their powerlessness. The rabble, the sinners, as they were judged by the leaders, stood in the way – “all the people were hanging on His words.” It was not Jesus they feared, it was this people.
There are any number of ways found in Sacred Scripture to define a Christian and I believe the last phrase of today’s Gospel is one of them. A follower of the Lord Jesus is one who hangs on His words because He is the Word – the One who can only say and do what He sees in and hears from His Father.
If we are not hanging on the His words, if His word does not define our lives, if His word is not the substance of our lives – then how can I, you, others call ourselves Christians, monks? Then, something or someone else is that word, that substance – an extremely poor substitute for the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we do not have to search and spend our lives seeking the meaning of life – even with its mysteries, its uncertainties – our God has provided for us in giving us His Word – the Lord Jesus Christ. In this surpassing gift, “we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17: 28)