Daily Reflection
November 21st, 2001
Tom Shanahan, S.J.
University Relations and the Theology Department
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Memorial of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary
Second Maccabees 7:1, 20-31
Psalms 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15
Luke 19:11-28

The gospel story in today’s reading is one of those readings that after you read it you scratch your head and wonder where it came from and what it has to do with the gospel of Jesus.  It seems more like an obscure lesson in money planning than a parable of Jesus.  The rich nobleman goes off to a foreign land so that he can be named king and he leaves some of his wealth in the hands of ten of his servants.  But the citizens of the land from which he comes hated him and did not want him to come back as their king.  He returns and goes to the ten servants with whom he had entrusted his money.  There is a divvying up of the money from the top servant-investor to the lowest (who gets the scorn of the nobleman-turned-king); then he proceeds to slay those citizens who did not want him to be made king.  With whom in the story might I identify???  Still scratching my head!!

Then I saw the very last line of today’s gospel reading and the story made some sense at least.  At the end of this bewildering parable is this line, “After he said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.”  The very next lines in Luke’s gospel begin the Passion of Jesus with His entry into Jerusalem.  Here’s what all the journeying in Luke’s gospel is all about.  Jesus has made his way from the ministry in the northern territories of Galilee, through Samaritan land, “up to” Jerusalem.  Now the real drama of the life of Jesus is to take place.  In Jerusalem he is soon to suffer a cruel death and be raised to life in the resurrection.  In Jerusalem, will take place the new Paschal Mystery in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

What does today’s story in Luke’s gospel --  placed right before the Passion narrative --have to do with the events that will follow it?  I’m still scratching my head, but it might be that the craziness of today’s story matches the craziness of the events that will immediately follow it in the Passion and death of Jesus.  The mystery of the Passion is God’s gift to us.  It’s not a gift that we have to understand the way that we understand our scientific world.  It is a gift that we have to live in every corner of our lives.  Somehow the paschal mystery of Jesus has to come alive in my (our) lives.  The gospel is radical and some of its radical nature comes about in OUR living of the death and the resurrection of Jesus.  

Lord, God, help me to live out the message of Jesus in my life.  Help me to know that you are offering me the gift of Christ’s own life when you invite me to experience the death and the resurrection in my life.  Help us all, especially in these troubled times, to seek the hope that is imbedded in the Paschal Mystery.  Be with us in our radical understanding/living of the message of Your Son, Jesus the Christ.

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