The WORD in Other Words by Fr Peter Tran Xuan Vu SVD (Philippines) Thursday Week 30 in Ordinary Time, Lk 13:31-35
Today‘s Gospel reminds me of stories about missionaries who were forced to leave their mission areas in order to preserve their lives. “Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you” (Lk 13:31).
I once experienced being given similar advice by my mission—partners. They asked me to leave their place during the night to avoid the threatening presence of unidentified people.
The good news is that Jesus confronts the challenge with bravery and uses it as a platform to accomplish God‘s mission: “Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day | accomplish my purpose” (Lk 13:32).
Jesus prefers death because with it, he will then have finished the hardest part of his undertaking and be perfected or consecrated (BUT Greek version: felezow mat) to his priestly office with his own blood (Matthew Henry notes for 2006 Bible Works). The death threats of Herod in Jesus‘ time is similar to the tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword in Paul‘s time as he describes in the First Reading.
Following Jesus‘ example, St. Paul is not overcome by “all kinds of afflictions” (2 Cor 4:8). His source of bravery and determination is God‘s love in Jesus Christ: “If God is for us, who is against us.” “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ” (Rom 8:31.35).
The scenario in today‘s readings is comparable to real life-situations of true Christians and faithful consecrated persons when they live for Christ to accomplish God‘s mission. May God‘s love be our strength and Jesus‘ and Paul‘s examples be our inspiration as we continue journeying towards the fulfillment of God‘s mission in the world.