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Luke 12:54-59

The Word of God

Jesus also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, 'It is going to rain'; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, 'There will be scorching heat'; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? "And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny."

Luke 12:54-59
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • We have seen from the previous readings that Jesus is now aware of what is happening, and that that the journey to Golgotha, and the disaster of the cross, has begun. There is no turning back for him, until this baptism of fire has been completed.
    • And here Jesus shows his anger and frustration with those people who cannot see what is happening, who do not realise the crisis they are in. If they knew, they would make preparations to avoid disaster.
    • Once again, take a little time to be with Jesus during this moment of dismay. Imagine the loneliness Jesus feels, as the only one who can see the danger ahead. It is never easy to accompany Jesus on the road to the cross, but we wish to do so because we love him.
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    • A glance at the sky or a whiff of the wind and you can have a good guess what the weather will be like. So, Jesus asks the crowds why they are not perceptive enough to see what’s going on around them in a society where the false agendas of the Pharisees sought to destroy him, while he is healing the sick and speaking up for the poor.
    • It is good to apply this gospel to our own life situations. How often people can refuse to see what is obvious. How easy it is to pass responsibility or blame someone else and to refuse to speak or take action when I am well capable of making the call. I pray for light and guidance.
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    • We seem to be living in a world that is very flat, that finds it next to impossible to think beyond the pragmatic and the immediate. Jesus challenges us to 'interpret the present time', and behave wisely.
    • In this Year of Mercy I am called to be merciful, as I consider how the merciful Father deals with me, a sinner who fails in so many things. I can never be the one to throw the first stone, and I feel called to be compassionate, towards myself first, and to others.
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    • Weather forecasting has improved immensely. However, forecasting of one’s life is not so easy to predict. The ability to be honest with oneself and be in touch with the movements within our heart and mind is a wonderful and solid foundation for interior growth.
    • When I am honest with myself it helps me to interpret my inner life more accurately. In my prayer I ask the Lord for the gift of interior sensitivity.
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    • We have elevated weather forecasting far beyond conversation: the weather has become an industry, a science, an art about which we are constantly informed. Jesus invites us to look at the microclimates of our own lives, to recognise the light that calls us to life, to be alert to the damaging storm, to avoid the conditions that might lead to our overheating. Direct me, Lord, to recognise how your Spirit moves and to become responsive to your prompting.
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    • We watch out daily for signs of change in the weather. But Jesus advises us to put more effort into working out our relationship with God. The wise move would be to settle our affairs while we are still free to do so. As we stand before God in prayer, we must search our hearts with honesty and humility and ask God to straighten us out.
    • What are the present signs in my life telling me? Am I missing the point about something? For instance, I am growing older. Or perhaps I am nourishing dislike of another person? But how do I connect these facts with my relationship to God? Remove the cloud from my vision, Lord, and inspire me to act upon your truth.
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    • Jesus unmasks the blind spot in the crowds: while they can read the signs of nature, they are failing or refusing to recognize in Jesus one who comes from God, one who speaks God’s word and acts in the power of God. Am I as knowledgeable about Jesus and his Good News as I am about other aspects of life?
    • Jesus repeats his message of forgiveness and reconciliation. Am I so proud, arrogant or self-righteous as to refuse to be reconciled with my neighbour? Am I burdened with the baggage of resentment, bitterness and the desire for revenge?
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    • We are asked to interpret our present times rightly. This will involve standing out against injustice and domination. I cannot do this alone, so daily I beg for God’s strength, just as Jesus did in his prayer.
    • Jesus tells me to judge for myself what is right. Do I allow the Spirit to speak to me in my conscience, so that I no longer go with the trends of the day, but follow instead the inspiration of God?
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    • Jesus clearly feels that many of his listeners are too complacent about the call to conversion and they need to be shaken up.
    • In what way am I complacent? How is God calling me to live a new and better life and what are my resistances?
    • Can I allow Jesus to challenge my resistance?
    • Lord, you are shaking my complacency. You ask me to judge the signs of the times, to recognise what is evil, greedy and perverse and to take sides for justice and mercy. Teach me to interpret the present time with your eyes.
    • The realism of Jesus comes across in these sayings. The writer of the gospel in a persecuted society leans on sayings which advise taking notice of what is going on and the interpreting of what may happen in the future - with a recommendation, in a court case, to settle out of court if possible! It is not always easy to pray some of Jesus' sayings - here maybe we ask his help in the difficulties we face, and the humility to take the ordinary human steps we need to take in our varied dilemmas.
    • Prayer helps us to notice God in our lives. We can go back over a day or a week and notice where we found love given and love received, where we found the moments of depth in our lives, the call to help or to serve...all the different ways we can notice the presence and activity of God in life.