Reading 1 Rom 8:31b-39

Brothers and sisters: If God is for us, who can be against us? He did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us. Who will condemn? It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written:For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gospel Lk 13:31-35

Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose. Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.’“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned. But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Reflection

Can there be anything better than the King of the kings coming down in human form and referring to a local, debauched ruler as a fox? Today we see the broad outlines of the power of God and His intended exercise of that power.  And any time you talk about the power of God, you’re also talking about the free will of men. In the lament of Jesus, we see that God Himself has longed for Jerusalem to come together, to be a shining light guiding all the world in truth and love.  But man is fallen.  It’s not just that the Jews were a little off-course, either:  When God would specially send them messengers to correct that course, exhorting them to return to the Lord their God, these same messengers – the prophets – were abused and killed. It is amusing, then, when Christ the Prophet is cautioned that Herod wants to kill Him.  Of course Herod wants to kill Him.  That is what always happens. But wait.  Why would an all-powerful God consent to have His prophets killed for doing His work?  Why would God permit His own Son to be killed?  Why would God even permit all of this sinfulness and wandering away at all? The philosophy unfolds at length, but the answer is simple enough:  Love. St. Paul lays it out:  If God is for us, who can be against us?  If we are loved – which is a love even to humiliation and death – by the all-powerful Creator, what hard or terrible thing could separate us from that love? Name anything.* Indeed, the only thing that could is one’s own free will.  And that is how their came to be fallen men, because God made free will inviolable.  And the reason for that is because free will makes love possible. When God loves us (always) and we love Him (too seldomly), we have the pinnacle experience of life.  We will have the New Jerusalem.   *That is how you know there is a good God, and that there is no problem of evil to challenge His existence – redemption is possible through all things.