Saturday, September 26, 2015

Reflection: Luke 9:43b-45

25th Week in Ordinary Time — Luke 9:43b-45

Today’s Gospel reading is very brief. Yet clearly Jesus wants the full attention of his disciples. He says to them: “Pay attention to what I am saying to you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.”

Now put yourself in the disciples’ shoes. If a good friend or family member came to you and told you that they were going “to be handed over,” what would be your reaction: confusion, fear, or anger? Any of these responses would be normal. Luke writes: “The disciples did not understand this saying. Its meaning was hidden from them so they would not understand it. And they were afraid to ask Jesus what this phrase meant.”

Why were the disciples afraid to ask Jesus what his words meant? Did they simply want to close their ears to a message that was frightening to them? Did they believe that if they ignored Jesus’ words that everything would all right? Yet Jesus’ message is very clear.

I wonder how Jesus responded to the disciples’ silence. Was he disappointed by the disciples’ lack of response? Or did Jesus understand that his words had frightened them to their core? Perhaps they simply were unable to believe what he had said. Yet the disciples knew that the Pharisees were watching Jesus, monitoring his teaching and his behavior. The disciples also realized that Jesus was a great threat to the Pharisees and to their power over the people.

At various times in our lives we also may not want to deal with reality. When a situation is painful or frightening, we often automatically shut down rather than deal with a difficult situation. Another way of dealing with reality is rejection. None of us wants to hear bad news or sad news. If we or someone we love receives bad news, we automatically want to close our ears to the words. We simply do not want to hear it. And yet the cross is central to our religion. How many times have we read or listened to the reading of the Passion of Jesus Christ? And yet our automatic response is to reject suffering!

Jesus was human and thus he would suffer. However, his suffering and death not only would affect his mother, brothers, sisters and disciples, it would impact the whole world. Today there are many refugees in the world. We hear of the horrors of the fighting in the Middle East. We listen to the radio and there was a shooting and a young man was shot and killed. We hear of a drunk driver who lost control of the car and hit a car. Several people died and others were injured.

We hear these stories frequently. Do we pray for the people who were hurt or killed? Or do we quickly let it go so we don’t get sad or upset? When you listen to the news or the radio, I invite you to say a quiet prayer for the person/s who were involved in the situation. And if the situation was caused by another human being, pray also for that person. This individual also needs prayer and support. What a wonderful gift to give the person! Who knows? One day a stranger may pray for you when you need it most.

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