Thursday, October 31: Luke 17 – 18
Friday, November 1: Luke 19 – 20
As we finished this section of Luke, where our author has combined together many of Jesus’ parables, we find the teaching of the Mustard Seed and the Servant in the Field. (Luke 17:5-10) Both of these need to be read together, and are all prompted by the Disciples statement/question/demand “increase our faith.”
In response to their statement/question/demand Jesus gives us the familiar image, “if you had faith the size of a mustard seed.” My friends this is not meant to be a put down to all of us who cannot to amazing things through faith. This is not to be a measuring tool for you and I to rank our faith. We shouldn’t think, “if only I was faithful enough . . . then” Unfortunately this parable has been used all too often in these ways. What it is meant it to be a reminder that with faith, great things can be accomplished. In the same way, it is a reminder that faith is never finished in its work. Hence the connection to the Servant in the Field. Called as we are to discipleship, our faith should always be at work. Our faith should always be serving. Our faith should never be caught idle, and when put to action can accomplish the seemingly impossible. So don’t give up your faith, thinking “if only it was the size of a mustard seed.” Remember your faith is enough just as it is!
Then we move into chapter 19 and Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. If we have been reading along, this is the third time we’ve heard the same story of Jesus on Palm Sunday. While we may have read this three different times, have you picked up on the details that make each Gospel unique? Ponder this:
- In Matthew 21 Jesus rides two donkeys! How did that work? Actually it says a donkey and it’s colt, but still it seems a bit awkward! Also, the crowds cheer: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
- In Mark 11, we find a pretty traditional Palm Sunday Story. One donkey, palm branches, cloaks on the road and the people cheering: “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
- In Luke 20, there are no palm branches. Don’t believe me, look it up for yourselves! I always wondered how you could celebrate “Palm Sunday” if we only had Luke’s Gospel? Here the people cheer: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” and Jesus gives the reminder that if the people were silent, even the stones would sing.
That is the image I love . . . the stones singing. Talk about a real rock concert! Ok bad joke I know, but what a reminder which ties all of today’s reflection together! We are called to serve an awesome God who is recognize for greatness so much so that all of heaven and earth, including the rocks and dust of the earth, are able to proclaim God’s praise. Remember this, we put our faith to work to do great things on God’s behalf!
Reading for the next few days:
Saturday, November 2: Luke 21 – 22
Sunday, November 3: Luke 23 – 24
Monday, November 4: John 1 – 2